On the eve of World Teacher’s Day [October 5th, 2012], as countries across the globe prepare for ceremonies in appreciation of our honorable and dedicated teachers, a large number of innocent teachers with an extensive history of service in Iran’s education sector remain behind bars because they had the courage to demand that their civil rights be upheld. Honorable Iranian teachers who have dedicated their lives to servicing the educational needs of remote and deprived regions in Iran have now been banned from the teaching profession and deprived of all their benefits and rights.
“Abdollah has fifteen years of experience serving the education sector. He has taught in remote areas of Iran such as the Kouhdasht villages and high schools in the province of Lorestan. His salary and benefits were cut off right after he was arrested. Our children no longer have insurance coverage and we have been deprived of all benefits afforded teachers. When he was granted furlough two years ago, he visited the region where he used to teach and he was told that he is no longer needed. As simple as that… ” says Fatemeh Adinehvand the wife of Abollah Momeni, incarcerated teacher, student activist and spokesperson for the Alumni Association Advar Tahkim-e-Vahdat.
While expressing regret over the continued detention of innocent teachers Fatemeh Adinehvand continues: “Abdollah loves teaching and speaks fondly of the days when he was allowed to teach his students. Alas, it is a pity that a human being so in love with teaching, his students and the learning environment has been deprived from participating in the educational system for the past three years and instead is spending his days behind bars.”
Rasoul Badaghi is a member of the Board of Directors of the Iran’s Teacher’s Union. Badaghi is currently serving a 6 year prison sentence and has been deprived of all civil activities for a period of 5 years. Despite posting bail, Badaghi’s family insists that he continues to be deprived of furlough.
Mahmoud Bagheri sentenced to 9 1/2 years prison, Mohammad Ali Agoushi a retired teacher sentenced to 10 years prison and exile to Zahedan prison are two other teachers currently behind bars because they dared to expressed their civic demands.
Abdolreza Ghanbari, middle school teacher, Hashem Shabani Nejadand Hadi Rashedi all three with a long history of service in the education sector and teaching in remote areas of Iran are facing the death penalty while behind bars.
Mohammad Davari began his teaching career servicing schools in remote regions in Iran in 1990 while completing his MA in Educational Administration. While studying for his MA, Davari began to teach and commenced his journalism career by publishing a variety of newspapers, magazines and website. Davari was also active in the establishment of teacher’s trade associations and was arrested and sentenced while attending the teacher’s demonstrations that took place in February 2007. Following the controversial presidential elections in 2009, Davari was once again arrested enduring more than 11 months of physical and psychological pressures at Evin prison’s ward under the supervision of Iran’s intelligence ministry. Davari was eventually transferred from Evin’s security ward to the general ward in August 2010 and sentenced by the illegal Revolutionary Courts to 5 years prison and a $5000 dollar fine for participating in the post election demonstrations.
While mindful of her son’s 33 year service to the education sector in Iran, Zoleykhah Biyabani, Davari’s mother says: ” Mohammad began teaching in 1990. He has been deprived of his salary and all the benefits afforded a teacher since his arrest and incarceration. He taught for four or five years in the villages bordering Russia and the villages in Northern Khorasan.While teaching he also became involved in teacher’s trade associations. Mohammad is also a war veteran. In addition to his passion for teaching, he was always been very interested in journalism. He began his journalism career while writing for the Northern Khorasan news paper. Interestingly enough, I heard the authorities claiming on the radio the other day that we don’t have any journalists behind bars in Iran! Tell me then, why is our Mohammad at Evin prison? Why must he unjustly spend his days behind bars? Why must he endure so much hardship when he has a history of serving his people and his country as a war veteran, a teacher and a journalist? “
“Ever since Mohammad has been in prison he has developed a number of ailments. We managed to get him a doctor’s appointment to treat his heart condition and other physical ailments. The authorities however decided to take him to another doctor without coordinating with us and later informed us that after spending a few hours at the doctor’s office, the doctor did not show up and Mohammad was returned to prison. How is it possible for them to take a political prisoner to a doctor without coordinating with his family? Mohammad continues to suffer from the same ailments and we have obtained yet another doctor’s appointment for him. We’ll see if the authorities give him permission this time around. So far they have not even granted him medical furlough.” adds Biyabani while pointing to her son’s physical ailments.
The pressures on Iranians serving the educational sector is not limited to prison sentences, death sentences and being banned from the teaching profession. Many teachers have open cases filed against them. Their every move is being watched and the slightest civic activities can lead to their arrest and incarceration.
According to the Campaign for the Support of ImprisonedTeachers the following teachers have open cases filed against them:
Shahou Hosseini, Abdolvahed Maroufzadeh, Ali Beshararti, Mozafar Sharifi , Razgar Sharifi, Ali Akbar Baghani, Mohmoud Beheshti Langeroudi, Mokhtar Asadi, Amir yaghinlou, Mohammad Jamal Heyki, Ali Reza Hashemi, Ahmad Medadi, Bagher Fathali Beygi, Zahra Hatami, Ali Najafi, Asghar Mohammad Khani, Saeed Jahan Ara, Alyas Talebi, Mohsen Jeldyani, Javar Ebrahimi Azandaryani, Tofigh Mortezahpour, Mohammad Farjiyan, Mohammad Ali Shirazi, Masoumeh Dehghan retired teacher and her husband Abdolfatah Soltani, Hossein Taraghi Jafari, Mohammad Reza Rezaii Gorgani.