Nasim’s story: A midnight arrest

A mural visible to train commuters in New York City, created by Australian street artist Rone, depicts Nasim Biglari and her determination to continue her studies despite having that avenue shut off in her native Iran. Videos are available on facebook.com/educationisnotaacrime Photo courtesy of Not A Crime campaign

This is the story of Nasim Biglari, as adapted from what she told the Not A Crime campaign.

Nasim was a student in the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education when, in 2009, many Iranians took to the streets in protest of what they felt were rigged election results. Nasim was out taking photos — staying away from participation in the protests. She was arrested and briefly detained by government authorities.

“It was midnight when five men came to my house,” she told Not A Crime. “They looked through everything: my drawers, my books, my closets, my parents’ room, the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, the fridge. They told me to get dressed. ‘You have to come with us,’ they said. I didn’t know where I was going. They put a blindfold on me and I could just see my feet. The night they arrested me, I was one of 10 Bahá’ís, and I could hear everyone else — my relatives and my friends. They started asking me questions about my life and about other Bahá’ís. They interrogated us through the whole night and they wouldn’t let us sleep. They asked me to write a letter saying, ‘I am a Bahá’í, and the protests are my fault,’ that I protested against the Islamic Republic. ‘If you do that,’ they said, ‘we will let you go.’ I said no.”

Nasim decided she had to leave Iran. She moved to California to restart her higher education, and has been accepted for admission to two of the most selective state universities.

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