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Two Iranian Baha’i Colleagues Released from Prison

Mahmoud BadavamOn April 29, 2015, two Iranian Baha’i colleagues, whose cases were undertaken by the CHR, were released from prison. They are Mahmoud Badavam, an engineer and physics lecturer, and Ramin Zibaie, a psychologist and university dean. Both served their entire four year sentences under harsh conditions of confinement at Raja’i Shahr prison.

At the time of their arrests, Mr. Badavam and Mr. Zibaie were professors and administrators at the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), a university that provides education to Baha’i students who are prohibited, because of their religious faith, from attending universities and government-sponsored institutions of higher learning in Iran. (Classes are held online and in private homes. Volunteer faculty members help the university maintain high academic standards, and many graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees abroad. The quality of the coursework has been recognized and accepted for credit by more than 50 universities outside of Iran.)

In May 2011, Iranian Ministry of Intelligence officials conducted coordinated raids in several Iranian cities on the homes of over 30 Baha’is associated with the BIHE, including Mr. Badavam and Mr. Zibaie. They were arrested and charged with “membership in the deviant Bahaist sect, with the goal of taking action against the security of the country, in order to further the aims of the deviant sect and those of organizations outside the country.” Following an unfair trial, Mr. Badavam and Mr. Zibaie were convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. Read More.