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A Teacher’s Life Hanging in Balance

In a wrenching open letter addressed to teachers’ unions, cultural entities, and human rights organizations worldwide, the wife of the condemned teacher Abdolreza Ghanbari has pleaded with them to spare no efforts to save her husband’s life.

Ghanbari was picked up on January 3, 2010 by several agents of the Intelligence Ministry while teaching his students at Hesar Amin High School in the city of Pakdasht, Tehran province. He was transferred to the Ward number 209 of the Evin prison and was condemned to death a month later.

Born on May 6, 1967 in a village in Mazadran by the Caspian Sea, he entered university in 1991 where he obtained his Masters degree six years later.

He had been arrested earlier in 2007. He was held in jail for 120 days and denied work for 6 months after his release. He was also “exiled” to the provincial city of Pakdasht by the same court which had passed a sentence on him.

Twenty five days after his January detention—and continuous period of torture—he was brought before Revolutionary Court branch 15, before the notorious judge Salavati where he was condemned to death for “waging war and propaganda against the system”. He is currently held at Ward number 350 in Evin prison.

Aside from teaching high schools in Pakdasht, Aradan and Garmsar, he has also taught at several universities in Tehran before his forced exile. He has written several articles on various topics, compiled 5 volumes of self-help books for students, founded the Pen Association of Pakdasht, taught classes for professional writers in story-telling, and published literary publications like “Naviseh” in Garmsar and “Dadar” at Tehran Azad University. He has also worked at the city of Semnan radio station in a literary program.

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