Fariba Kamalabadi - The Baha'i Seven

Key Fact:

Developmental psychologist and Baha'i member


Espionage, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and establishment of an illegal administration


Fariba Kamalabadi was released in October 2017 after serving her full 10-year sentence under false charges.

Detained Since:

May 14, 2008

Release Date:

Oct 31, 2017


Fariba Kamalabadi was born on September 12, 1962, in Tehran, Iran. Ms. Kamalabadi graduated from high school with honors but was barred from attending university due to her Baha’i faith.

In her mid-30s, Ms. Kamalabadi embarked on an eight-year period of informal study and eventually received an advanced degree in developmental psychology from the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), an alternative institution the Baha’i community of Iran established to provide higher education for its young people. The Iranian government does not recognize the BIHE.

Ms. Kamalabadi is one of the seven Baha’i leaders known as “Yaran” or “Friends,” who tended to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha’i community in the absence of formally elected Baha’i leadership due to restrictions by the Iranian government. The other six members are Mahvash Sabet, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm.

Ms. Kamalabadi was arrested on May 14, 2008 after an early morning raid on her home. Ms. Kamalabadi and the other Baha’i Seven were held incommunicado for weeks, placed in solitary confinement for months, and spent a year behind bars without access to legal counsel. In 2010, the seven were tried and convicted of charges of “espionage” and “spreading propaganda against the regime.” The Seven were sentenced to 20 years in prison, the longest of any current prisoner of conscience in Iran.

In 2013, Iran passed a reformed Islamic Penal Code that stipulated that courts may carry out only the most severe punishment assigned to a prisoner, rather than carrying out multiple, similar punishments for related crimes. In early 2016, the Baha’i 7 were informed that this rule would be applied to their cases, reducing their imprisonment from 20 years to 10 years.

Ms. Kamalabadi was released in October 2017 after serving her full 10-year sentence under false charges.

Ms. Kamalabadi was held in Tehran’s Evin prison, along with other female prisoners of conscience, including Mahvash Sabet.

Ms. Kamalabadi married fellow Baha’i Ruhollah Taefi in 1982 and they have three children, Vargha, Alhan, and Taraneh. Ms. Kamalabadi's father was fired from his job in the government health service in the 1980s because he was a Baha’i; he was later imprisoned and tortured.

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