A developmental psychologist and mother of three, Fariba Kamalabadi was denied the chance to study at a public university as a youth because of her Bahá’í beliefs. This is not the first time Fariba has been imprisoned because she is a Bahá’í. Before this current imprisonment she was arrested twice before, and was held for periods of one and two months respectively, all due to her volunteer work for the Bahá’í community.
For Fariba, her experience of persecution extends beyond herself. In the 1980s her father was fired from his job as a doctor in the government health service because he was a Bahá’í. He was later imprisoned and tortured.
Fariba was born in Tehran on 12 September 1962. She was an excellent student who graduated from high school with honours but was barred from attending university because she is a Bahá’í. Instead, in her mid-30s, she embarked on an eight-year period of informal study and ultimately received an advanced degree in developmental psychology from the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE), an alternative institution established by the Bahá’í community of Iran to provide higher education for its young people.
In 1982, Fariba married fellow Bahá’í Ruhollah Taefi in 1982. They have three children, the youngest of whom was only 13 when she was arrested in 2008.