Nevada County Baha’is and their friends will mark the fifth anniversary of the imprisonment of the seven former Bahá’í leaders in Iran with a special meeting at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Sierra Center for Spiritual Living, 119 Florence Ave., Grass Valley.
The public is invited to attend this free event. Please park at the back of the veterans hall parking lot on 255 S. Auburn St. in Grass Valley and walk through the garden gates to Florence Avenue.
The program will include prayers for a swift end to the incarceration of all Bahá’ís in Iran and for their spiritual and physical protection, together with that of all prisoners of conscience in that country, and be followed by a screening of the 30-minute documentary “Education Under Fire.”
The seven former Bahá’í leaders, known as the Yárán i-Iran — the “Friends of Iran” — were cast into prison, later to be falsely tried, convicted and sentenced to long jail terms in a travesty of justice. Over the last two years, as the Yárán and other prisoners of conscience have continued to endure incarceration under the harshest, most abominable conditions imaginable, the incessantly harassed Bahá’ís of Iran have seen their already-constricted freedoms further deteriorate. Since January 2011, the number of Bahá’ís behind bars has more than doubled from 56 to 115.
Devotions will be followed by a screening of “Education Under Fire,” which tells the story of the Bahá’í Institute For Higher Education, a community-run initiative in Iran that serves young Baha’is who are barred from university because of their religious beliefs. Government raids in 2011 on homes and halls where the students studied resulted in the arrest of dozens of faculty.
The film, co-sponsored by Amnesty International, addresses this continued government-sanctioned persecution and the blatant disregard of Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees education as an inalienable right of every human being.