Crackdown on Students Ahead of National Student Day
(24 November 2009) Scores of Iranian students have been arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted in recent days, as authorities apparently seek to stifle protests expected on 7 December, National Student Day, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported today. Detentions of students have occurred throughout Iran. The Campaign has received information of such detentions in Isfahan, Babol, Chaharmahal-o-Bakhtiari, Shiraz, Ilam, Kermanshah, Ghazvin, and in Tehran in Azad University, Tehran University, Amirkabir and Elm-o-Sanaat.
“In order to silence the student movement, a wholesale crackdown on Iranian students is underway, which not only violates their rights, but also disrupts their studies and the lives of their families,” stated Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesperson for the Campaign.
Little or no information has been disclosed by the authorities about students in detention. In some cases, students have been expelled from their universities following their arrests, or subjected to university disciplinary procedures. Some have been sentenced to prison terms and lashings. In other cases, the detainees have been arrested in connection with their participation in peaceful demonstrations.
Iranian students have long been under intense pressure not to express themselves, either about national political issues or campus problems, and acutely since the beginning of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls for the immediate release of all students who have been detained for exercising their internationally protected rights to freedom of expression and association. The Campaign calls upon the authorities of the Islamic Republic to respect the rights of students freely to participate in National Student Day on 7 December.
Detail/Chronology of Recent Student Arrests
According to Amirkabir News, in the past month, over 60 students were arrested, some of whom remain in jail. In the last week, information about recent student arrests received by the Campaign, which is not exhaustive, is as follows:
16 November: Five students, Lida Mohammadi, Sorveh Vaisi, Amaj Rahimi, Ahmad Esmaieli, and Pakhshan Azizi, were arrested following a Kurdish students protest in front of the Law and Political School in Tehran University. No information has been released about their whereabouts, or about charges against them.
17 November: Neda Eskandari and Khadijeh Ghahremani, students at Shiraz University, were arrested by intelligence agents while facing the University’s Disciplinary Committee. Both students were expelled for two semesters.
19 November: At least 18 students were reportedly detained in Tehran. Abbas Hakimzadeh was arrested in his home. Seven members of the Liberal Students group, including Sorena Hashemi, Alireza Mousavi, Farzan Raoufi, Sina Shokuhi, Alborz Zahedi, and Ehsan Dolatshah were arrested, and intelligence forces attacked Ehsan Dolatshah’s house. Six students of Alameh Tabatabai in Tehran, including Hamid Ghahvechian, Alireza Mousavi, Ahmad Mirhaheri, Alireza Zargar, Amir Kazempour, Tina Shokuhi, and Yaser Masoumi, were arrested in a coffee shop in Tehran. No information was given to their families, but the summons for searching their houses was signed by Branch 3 of the Special Security Section for Interrogations.
On the same day, two students, Rasoul Alinejad and Behrouz Faridi of Azad University in Tabriz, were arrested by Intelligence forces.
20 November: Twenty-four students in Ferdowsi University in Mash’had were summoned to the Disciplinary Committee apparently for participating in peaceful protests on 4 November.
22 November: Eight students in Mazandaran university were each sentenced to 6-month prison terms and 15 lashes by the public court in Babolsar, Branch 101, because of their participation in peaceful protests in June and July 2009. The eight students are Milad Hosseini Koshtan, Ali Nazari, Siavash Safavi, Ali Donyari, Maziar Yazdani Nia, Shoaneh Merikhi, Ali Abbasi, and Rahman Yaghoubi. Also on 22 November, 20 students in Gilan University were summoned to the Disciplinary Committee in connection with a protest against Safar Harandi, a former Minister of Culture, on 9 November, and 50 students at Azad university in Najafabad, in Isfahan province, were summoned to the Disciplinary Committee for participating in gatherings on 4 November.
23 November: Mehdi Arabshahi, responsible for the organizational chart of the student group Office of Strengthening Unity (Daftar e Tehkim Vahdat), was summoned by the Tehran Public Court, Branch 1053, on a charge of disturbing public order through an illegal gathering. Also on 23 November, student activists in Ilam were arrested, including Arash Khandel, Morad Basereh.
Three students of Qazvin University, Payam Heydar Ghazvini, Farhad Fathi, and Saieed Sakakian, were arrested.
The Campaign has also received information that 18 students at Shiraz University are in detention. Banaie, Jalalli, Saied Rezaie, Zahedi, Zohourian, Aref, Pourfathi, Taheri, Safarpour and Poursultan are being held in Adelabad prison. Dr. Masiholah Haghighatjou, who has two Ph.D.s in medical science, was arrested on 4 November. Also, Ali Saleh Pour, Kazem Rezaie, Yahya Tavousi, Neda Eskandari, Khadijeh Ghahremani, Nazari, Shirvani, and Bagheri are being held in the Intelligence detention center in Shiraz. Some of the students were tried but their families were informed that the verdicts would be issued after 7 December, and until that time, they would be banned from visiting.
Ten students of Shahr Kurd University in Chaharmahal-o-Bakhtiari were reportedly summoned to the local Intelligence office and 23 students were summoned to the Disciplinary Committee in charge of attending peaceful protests on 4 November.