Baha’i World News Service– According to the latest Iran Update, provided by the Baha’i World News Service wo of the three Iranian Baha’is, imprisoned for their participation in an education program for underprivileged children, have been freed after serving more than three years of their four-year jail terms. Haleh Rouhi and Sasan Taqva were released from the temporary detention center where they had been held for the duration of their incarceration, on 8 December. It is believed the release of Ms. Rouhi and Mr. Taqva was part of an amnesty for more than 600 prisoners, granted by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the end of November on the occasion of Eid al-Ghadir, a Shiite Muslim festival.
Ms. Rouhi, Ms. Sabet and Mr. Taqva were involved in projects in and around the city of Shiraz which focused on teaching literacy, social skills and moral values to children. They were arrested in May 2006, with some 51 other Baha’is and 10 Muslim friends. The Baha’is alone were convicted of “indirect teaching of the Baha’i Faith.”
It is believed the release of Ms. Rouhi and Mr. Taqva was part of an amnesty for more than 600 prisoners, granted by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the end of November on the occasion of Eid al-Ghadir, a Shiite Muslim festival.
The educational program in Shiraz was carried out by the three Baha’is and their friends with the full knowledge and permission of the city council. Yet the three were sentenced to three years imprisonment for “organizing illegal groups” and a further year “for teaching for the benefit of groups that are against the Islamic regime.” The other Baha’is were given one year sentences, suspended pending their attendance at mandatory Islamic classes. On 19 November 2007, the three were locked into holding cells and continued to be held in the same temporary circumstances for a full three years. A renewed call to release the three was included in the open letter, dated 7 December 2010, addressed by the Baha’i International Community to the head of Iran’s Judiciary.