Students Beaten and Prevented from Entering Noushirvan University in Babol
(14 April 2009) Twenty students at Noushirvan University in Babol were prevented from entering the campus, insulted, and beaten by the University Guards and plainclothes security officers who met them in front of the campus on 13 April 2009, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said.
Students at Noushirvan University started an unlimited sit in on 11 April 2009, after they were threatened by university authorities in response to their legitimate requests. The students had requested to drop the disciplinary sentences issued recently against 11 students, to recognize the University’s Islamic Students Association and allow the members to act, and to release their colleagues at Amirkabir University who are being held in Evin Prison. The students also informed the Campaign that four students, Ali Taghipour, Ahmad Mohammadnia, Hamidreza Jahantigh and Mohsen Barzegar have been on hunger strike since 11 April.
After the first day of peaceful demonstration on the campus, the students faced direct threats from the Supreme Leader’s representative at the University, Hojatoleslam Hosseini. In his noon prayer sermon in the University, he called the students “agents of causing rioting and chaos” and suggested that they should be permanently expelled. The students told the Campaign that Hojatoleslam Hosseini also requested that the Disciplinary Committee punish them severely.
“The University academic authorities should examine and address the students’ concerns and demands rather than beating and expelling them,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.
Eleven Noushirvan University students faced disciplinary charges and sentences for celebrating National Student Day on 5 December 2008, as well as for their attempts to reverse the closure of the Islamic Students Association as an independent student organization. “The University authorities had been ordered to close the Islamic Students Association by the Ministry of Higher Education,” said one of the students to the Campaign.
Eleven students, Ali Taghipour, Hesam Bagheri, Hamidreza Jahantigh, Mohsen Barzegar, Iman Sadeghi, Ahmad Mohammadnia, Siavash Saliminejad, Nima Nahva, Moein Islamijam, Mohammad Elmi, and Ali Kiani were charged and sentenced by the University’s Disciplinary Committee. The first five students were expelled for one semester.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reminds university authorities of Iran’s national and international obligation to respect university students’ and faculty members’ rights to free expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
“When faculty members and students enjoy their basic rights, research and teaching can proceed, serving both national interest and the aspirations of Iranian students and their families,” Ghaemi said.