Mr. Afif Naeimi

Mr. Afif Naeimi, imprisoned since 14 May 2008.

Eight years ago, Afif Naeimi received a wonderful gift that every father dreams of: the birth of a first grandchild.

But the 55-year-old former factory manager has been unable to spend much time with Bahar, the daughter of his son Fareed, because he’s being wrongfully held in an Iranian prison.

Of course, families are allowed to visit prisoners in Iran. But sweet young Bahar doesn’t much like to go see her grandfather.

“She says she doesn’t like to go to the prison because it stinks and smells,” said Mr. Naeimi’s uncle, Towfigh Mehregani.

Mr. Naeimi is one of seven imprisoned Iranian Baha’i leaders. He was arrested on 14 May 2008 in an early morning raid on his home in Tehran.

Since his imprisonment, Mr. Naeimi has missed out all the joys of family life with his wife, Shohreh, and his two children, Fareed and Sina, who are both married and who both live in Iran.

He missed the marriage of his son, Sina, who was married while Mr. Naeimi was in prison.

He could not attend the funerals of his paternal aunt, his maternal uncle, and his maternal uncle’s wife.

He also missed the marriage of two nieces, and the birth of two children to the son of his brother, Adel.

Mr. Naeimi has endured severe health problems while in prison, without adequate treatment. He recently spent six months in the hospital for a heart problem, and he also takes medicine for a blood clotting problem.

Such disappointments are not new to Mr. Naeimi. He was unable to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor because as a Baha’i he was denied access to a university education. Instead, he diverted his attention to business, one of the few avenues of work then open to Baha’is, taking over his father-in-law’s blanket and textile factory.

Mr. Naeimi was born on 6 September 1961 in Yazd. His father died when he was three and he was raised in part by his uncles. While still in elementary school, he was sent to live with relatives in Jordan and, although he started with no knowledge of Arabic, he soon rose to the top of his class.

He has long been active in volunteer Baha’i service. He has taught Baha’i children’s classes, conducted classes for adults, taught at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, and been a member of the Auxiliary Board, an appointed position which serves principally to inspire, encourage, and promote learning among Baha’is.