Viewport width =
July 15, 2013 | by  | in News |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Baha’i-nd Bars

An Iranian student is being held prisoner after participating in a Victoria-University-affiliated competition.

Aziz Samandari has been charged by the Iranian Government with, among other things, ‘communicating with foreigners’ after his participation in the Global Enterprise Experience (GEE) in 2010. The GEE challenges teams to devise a business concept proposal that meets one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

Samandari was arrested last year and sentenced to five years in Tehran’s Raja’i Shahr prison after a trial which lasted ten minutes. Media have reported he is facing severe malnutrition, and is held with two or three other people in a cell measuring two by three metres.

Mr Samandari received the UNESCO Supreme Commitment Award in absentia in Parliament last month.

“The Supreme Commitment Award is to recognise the exceptional sacrifice he is making to pursue higher education and global communication,” GEE founder and Wellington resident Deb Gilbertson said.

“The Global Enterprise Experience competition means a lot to students worldwide and for some participation can even be risky.

“In Aziz’u’llah’s case he has been imprisoned for the very things that we are celebrating in this contest—getting an education and working in partnership across cultures.”

The laws under which Samandari is imprisoned apply only to those of Baha’i faith. Members of this religion are not recognised under Iranian law and face systematic persecution, including a ban on attending public universities. In 1992, Samandari’s father was executed under these same laws.

“We recognise [members of the Baha’i faith] as humans but do not recognise their beliefs as they are 100 per cent anti-Islam. It is just like how Singapore does not recognise gays,” the Iranian Embassy’s public-relations officer has been quoted as saying.

Victoria University did not comment directly on Samandari’s imprisonment.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. An (im)possible dream: Living Wage for Vic Books
  2. Salient and VUW tussle over Official Information Act requests
  3. One Ocean
  4. Orphanage voluntourism a harmful exercise
  5. Interview with Grayson Gilmour
  6. Political Round Up
  7. A Town Like Alice — Nevil Shute
  8. Presidential Address
  9. Do You Ever Feel Like a Plastic Bag?
  10. Sport
1

Editor's Pick

In Which a Boy Leaves

: - SPONSORED - I’ve always been a fairly lucky kid. I essentially lucked out at birth, being born white, male, heterosexual, to a well off family. My life was never going to be particularly hard. And so my tale begins, with another stroke of sheer luck. After my girlfriend sugge