My name is Mohammad Pourabdollah Tootkaboni and I am an Iranian immigrant. I came to Unites States as a political refugee. When I was living in Iran, I was a student in Tehran University and an activist. I was a member of Iranian student movement, which was fighting dictatorship and demanding freedom and social justice. We had student magazines, reading groups and we held demonstrations. Iranian authorities have never tolerated student movement and this became much worse since 2005, when president Ahmadinejad came to office. Hundreds of students, labor activists and women’s right activists were persecuted and I was one of them.
I was arrested two times. My first arrest was in January 2008 and I was imprisoned for 6 weeks. I spent about half of it in solitary confinement. My second arrest was in February 2009. Unlike my first arrest, in which I was released on a bail, they kept me for almost three years. I was released in September 2011. I tried to go back to university and get my bachelor degree. I had only one semester left. But they expelled me from university. In March 2012 I left the country and went to Turkey. I applied for asylum at United Nation. The process took 18 months and finally I was sent to United States in September 2013. I am back in the school and I am trying to achieve the right that was deprived of: education.
– Mohammad Tootkaboni