Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi

The engagement of Mrs. Kamalabadi's daughter, Taraneh, flanked by her fiance Farid and her father, Ruhollah Taefi.

When Fariba Kamalabadi was arrested, her youngest child, Taraneh, was 12 years old.

Any parent can understand what that means. It means she was unable to guide her daughter through her turbulent teenage years. It means she was absent when her daughter started high school in 2010. And it means she was unavailable when Taraneh set out for university in 2013.

It also means that Mrs. Kamalabadi missed out on Taraneh’s high school graduation, which she finished with exemplary marks. Taraneh also passed university entrance exams with an exceptional rank – and she could have studied any degree at any university, but she was denied higher education because of her being a Baha'i. Her mother, who went through much the same experience, could certainly have helped comfort her.

Mrs. Kamalabadi's two grandchildren, Diba and Nava.

Mrs. Kamalabadi, now 54, was also not there when Taraneh was thinking about and preparing for marriage – nor was she there when Taraneh got married in 2014.

And Taraneh needed her mother in the early and difficult days of her pregnancy in 2015 to assist her in preparing for childbirth. And, although Mrs. Kamalabadi was allowed a short five-day leave after Taraheh gave birth to her daughter Bahar in 2016, she missed out on all of the other joys of helping her daughter care for her newborn after that.

Mrs. Kamalabadi was also in jail when her older daughter, Alhan, left to England for her postgraduate studies in 2010. And she missed both of Alhan’s pregnancies, in 2013 and 2016, and the subsequent birth of Nava in 2014 and Diba in 2017.

And Mrs. Kamalabadi would have loved to be with her son, Vargha, and his family when they had a child, Benedict, in 2016. She wrote Benedict a poignant and poetic letter from prison shortly after his birth, saying “although I am deprived of seeing, touching, smelling, kissing and holding you in my arms, you do not know how I was counting the moments until your arrival” adding that “your birth not only heralds the permanent birth of gentleness and serenity in the universe, but it also promises the realization of the oneness of humankind on earth.”

But because she was wrongfully arrested on 14 May 2008, and subsequently sentenced to ten years in prison, she has missed all of these things.

Mrs. Kamalabadi's daughter, Taraneh, with her daughter, Bahar.

By profession, Mrs. Kamalabadi is a developmental psychologist. Like her children, she was also denied the chance to study at a public university as a youth because of her Baha’i belief. Before her current incarceration, she had been arrested twice before, and was held for periods of one and two months respectively, all due to her volunteer work for the Baha’i community.

Mrs. Kamalabadi was born in Tehran on 12 September 1962. An excellent student, she graduated from high school with honors but was nevertheless barred from attending university. Instead, in her mid-30s, she embarked on an eight-year period of informal study and ultimately received an advanced degree in developmental psychology from the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), an alternative institution established by the Baha’i community of Iran to provide higher education for its young people.

Mrs. Kamalabadi married fellow Baha’i Ruhollah Taefi in 1982. They have three children, as noted: Varqa, Alhan, and Taraneh.

Mrs. Kamalabadi’s experience with persecution extends beyond her immediate situation. Her father was fired from his job as physician in the government health service in the 1980s because he was a Baha’i, and he was later imprisoned and tortured.

Grand daughter of Mrs. Kamalabadi, Diba, born in 2017.

Because of her wrongful imprisonment, Mrs. Kamalabadi also missed out on the passing of the mother of her husband in 2010, and the passing of his brother, in 2008. Her husband, Ruhollah, certainly needed her during their burials and to console and comfort him.

She missed the graduation of her son-in-law, Sobhan Sorourian, the husband of Alhan, from university in 2011.

She missed the birth of two nephews, Nafis and Kian, in 2015.

She has also missed the wedding of three of paternal cousins and the birth of eight of paternal cousins' children.