Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli

Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, imprisoned since 14 May 2008.

Life’s important moments include not only happy times – such as the wedding of a child or the birth of a grandchild – but also sad occasions, such as the passing of a loved one.

Because he has been wrongfully imprisoned for the last nine years, Behrouz Tavakkoli, 65, could not be present during the passing of his brother-in-law, Mr. Valiollah Toosky, who died on 16 June 2011 at age 55.

Wedding of nephew of Behouz Tavakkoli.

“He was a very special relative to Behrouz,” said Rezvanollah Tavakkoli, his brother. “He was always there for him and his family, supporting them. He came and stood outside their home when he was arrested and tried to follow the government car that took him away.”

He was also absent during the passing of his father-in-law, Ruhollah Tooksy, who passed away in January 2017, and so he was unable to comfort his wife, Taraneh.

“Happy occasions are important for us Persians,” said Mr. Rezvanollah Tavakkoli. “But it is very important if someone dear to our heart passes away to be able to participate in the funeral, to have meetings with other relatives, and to say prayers for the departed.”

Of course, Mr. Tavakkoli also missed out on happy occasions, such as the birth of two grandchildren.

His son, Naiem, had a girl, Noura, born on 9 March 2014, and then a boy, Nica, born 3 March 2017.

He also missed out on the wedding of a nephew, Labib, in 2015. “There were so many family events he has missed out on,” said Rezvanollah.

Mr. Tavakkoli is a former social worker who lost his government job in the early 1980s because of his Baha’i belief. Prior to his current imprisonment, he has also experienced intermittent detainment and harassment and, in 2005, he was jailed for four months without charge, spending most of the time in solitary confinement.

Born 1 June 1951 in Mashhad, Mr. Tavakkoli studied psychology in university and then completed two years of service in the army, where he was a lieutenant. He later took additional training and then specialized in the care of the physically and mentally handicapped, working in a government position until his firing in 1981 or 1982.

Mr. Tavakkoli married Ms. Tahereh Fakhri Tuski at the age of 23. They have two sons, Naiem and Nabil.

Mr. Tavakkoli was elected to the local Baha’i governing council in Mashhad in the late 1960s or early 1970s while a student at the university there, and he later served on another local Baha’i council in Sari before such institutions were banned in the early 1980s. He also served on various youth committees, and, later, during the early 1980s he was appointed to the Auxiliary Board, a position which serves principally to inspire, encourage, and promote learning among Baha’is. He was appointed to the Friends group in the late 1980s.

To support himself and his family after he was fired from his government position, Mr. Tavakkoli established a small millwork carpentry shop in the city of Gonbad. There he also established a series of classes in Baha’i studies for adults and young people.

He has been periodically detained by the authorities. Among the worst of these incidents was in 2005 when he was held incommunicado for 10 days by intelligence agents, along with fellow Friends member Fariba Kamalabadi. He was then held for four months and during that confinement developed serious kidney and orthotic problems.