On December 21st, numerous students in Iran will be forced to spend the third consecutive *Yalda in prison because they defended the violation of a basic human right: the right to education. These students should be in university classrooms, but instead they are locked up behind bars because the Iranian regime, following suit with its long list of human rights violations, also deprives students from receiving post-secondary education. For example, **starred student activists Zia Nabavi, Mahdieh Golroo, Majid Dorri, and numerous others are among the imprisoned.
Yalda night falls on Zia Nabavi’s 26th birthday. We, the Iranian Liberal Students and Graduates, send our best wishes to Zia and his family and friends. We declare to defend the right to education for all students in Iran who are discriminated against and/or deprived of their education.
We hope that, by next year, Zia Nabavi and the other students will be released from prison to be by the sides of their families. We hope that the oppressive nights come to an end and the dawn of freedom arrives.
*In Iran, the winter solstice has been celebrated for centuries and it is called Shab-e Yalda, which refers to the birthday or rebirth of the sun. Yalda is a Syriac word and means birth…The ceremony is traced to the primal concept of Light and Good against Darkness and Evil in the ancient Iranian religion. This night with Evil at its zenith is considered unlucky. It is the longest night of the year. From this day forward, Light triumphs as the days grow longer and give more light. http://www.art-arena.com/yalda.htm
**The system of issuing stars against students was developed by Iran’s Ministry of Advanced Education so students with disciplinary issues would get penalized. After a student collects a certain number of stars, he or she is banned from education. The system is primarily used against student activists. Regime officials, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, deny the existence of starred students.