Baha'i Students Expelled from Universities in Iran
Sepehr Shahidi Ghamsari, a Junior Civil Engineering student at Sina Higher Education Institute in Kashan, has been expelled from university and prevented from continuing his education because he is a Baha’i. Even though Baha’i citizens are deprived of university education, some of these citizens may be admitted to universities, but after a while they are prevented from continuing their education under various pretexts.
A source close to the family of this Baha’i citizen told reporters: “Sepehr Shahidi Ghamsari was among the few Baha’is who was admitted to university in 2016. After he had completed five semesters as a civil engineering student, the portals to the university website were closed to him just before the end of the semester. After extensive follow up, university officials told him that he had been expelled because he was a Baha’i.”
This source added: “This Baha’i student realized his portal to the website had been closed when he visited the website on 18 December 2018 to register for university meal orders. After follow-up, it became clear that two weeks earlier inspectors at Esfahan and Kashan Universities had come to this university and had demanded that the issue of religion in his file be clarified. Ultimately, owing to his belief in the Baha’i Faith, in addition to being expelled from the university, his Associate Diploma and the record of his official grades were not handed to him either.”
A new wave of expulsions of Baha’i students from universities has started in recent months, coinciding with the start of final examinations.
Shayan Manavi, a third semester student in civil engineering at Islamic Azad University in the City of Qods, was expelled from the university and prevented from continuing his education because he is a Baha’i. Despite the fact that Baha’i students have been denied access to universities, some of these students have sometimes managed to enter university; however after a while, using various excuses, they are expelled and denied access to education by the authorities.
According to HRANA, the news arm of Human Rights Activists in Iran, a Baha’i student named Shayan Manavi was expelled from Azad University in Qods for being a Baha’i.
A source close to the family of this Baha’i student told HRANA that “Shayan Manavi was one of the few Baha’i students who had been able to enter the university; however, on December 17, 2018, after three semesters of studying civil engineering, right before to the start of final exams, his online access to the university examination portal was shut down. After numerous follow-ups, finally yesterday university officials told him that he was expelled because he is a Baha’i.”
Despite the fact that Baha’i students have been denied access to universities, some of these students have sometimes managed to enter a university; however, after a while, under various pretenses, they are denied access to education by the authorities. Earlier HRANA reported on the expulsions of other Baha’i students in various cities of the country.
On Wednesday, January 9th, 2019, Badi Safajou, a seventh-semester student of chemical engineering, was expelled from the Research and Sciences School at Azad University due because he is a Baha’i. On Saturday, a Baha’i student named Sama Nazifi was expelled from the Shahriar Campus of Azad University and prevented from continuing her education even as she was in the middle of taking her final exam.
Shirin Bani Nejad, a full-time fifth-semester undergraduate student in computer science at Sama Andisheh Azad University, was barred from continuing her studies because she is a Baha’i, and has been prevented from continuing her education. Despite deprivation of access to universities for Baha’i students, some of them have sometimes managed to enter university; after a while, they are prevented from continuing their education for various reasons.
According to HRANA News Agency – Human Rights Activists news agency in Iran – a Baha’i student named Shirin Bani Nejad was expelled from the Sama Andisheh unit of Azad University because she is a Baha’i.
A source close to the family of this Baha’i citizen told a HRANA Reporter: “On Wednesday, January 9, 2019, in a telephone call, Shirin Bani Nejad was asked to go to college. At the university she was informed that she had been expelled from the university a month before. This was announced to her after she had paid her full tuition, and had even taken one of her exams. ”
According to this source, she was dismissed when she only was three exams away from completing her education and receiving a degree.
The informed source also added: “this Baha’i student, along with her family, went to the security and head of the university offices on Saturday. However, no results were reached, as they stated that they had not had a role in expelling this student, and said that if the family had questions, they should go to the Ministry of Intelligence. ”
Despite the explicit law protecting the rights of minority religions, nevertheless, based on a letter from the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, Baha’is have been deprived of university education in addition to being banned from having government jobs.
Each year, multiple reports are published in relation to the deprivation of Baha’is of higher education at Iran’s universities. This includes even people who are on the verge of graduating.
Baha’i citizens in Iran are deprived of freedoms related to their religious beliefs. This systematic deprivation continues even though according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.