Majid Tavakoli: Four Months in Detention Without Access to Lawyer or Visit With Family
Four months after being arrested, Majid Tavakoli, an Amir Kabir University student and member of the Islamic Student Association, continues to be deprived of access to his lawyers. Three months after receiving a sentence of eight years and six months’ imprisonment, five years’ deprivation of education, and a five year ban on traveling abroad by Judge Salavati, Head of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts, he continues to be illegally denied access to his lawyers and the right to telephone calls, access to books and newspapers, or visitation rights with his family on orders from judicial authorities. He was transferred to Ward 7 of Evin prison on 20 April 2010, after serving 125 days in solitary confinement.
After months of fruitless follow-up, Majid Tavakoli’s family were finally able to visit him on 15 April 2010 for fifteen minutes. In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran , his brother Ali Tavakoli said: “His lawyers, Mr. Dadkhah and Mr. Alizadeh Tabatabaee have not been able to meet with Majid.”
Reporting his brother’s transfer to the General Ward, Ali Tavakoli described his brother’s mental state as satisfactory and said: “His psychological state was very good but he had become weak and thin. After four months in solitary confinement under difficult conditions, it is natural that he wouldn’t be in good physical shape. Fortunately, we were able to meet with him a few days ago. He has been transferred to the General Ward.”
According to Ali Tavakoli, Majid Tavakoli was sentenced three months ago and his illegal continued detention in solitary confinement has been under difficult conditions. “Majid was under interrogation for two weeks and after that didn’t have any more interrogation sessions. In fact his interrogations were completed by late December. When his sentence was issued, he was moved to solitary confinement and we were not able to have any visits with him and because he wasn’t yet placed, we didn’t have an opportunity to talk to him. Exactly one week before he was moved to the General Ward, we were able to visit him in person for 15 minutes. He was moved to the General Ward two days ago.”
Regarding the review process of his brother’s case, Ali Tavakoli told the Campaign: “Because we were unable to have visits with him and his lawyers were not allowed to meet him either, it is difficult to express an opinion about the process. If there is a chance for him to contact us in the next few days, perhaps we can talk about this subject. His conditions are very difficult. During our visit with him, we weren’t allowed to talk to him about his case or his interrogations.”
Despite objections from the student activist’s family, prison authorities have not allowed delivery of Majid Tavakoli’s personal items to his family.
Majid Tavakoli is a member of Tehran Polytechnic (Amir Kabir) University’s Islamic Association. He was first arrested in June 2009 and released after three months. He was arrested again on December 7, 2009, following a speech he made to Amir Kabir University students. As he tried to leave the university campus, he was severely beaten by security agents and arrested. In an extraordinary move, Fars News Agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, published a photograph of Majid Tavakoli clad in women’s clothing, stating: “Majid Tavakoli, the leader of rioters was arrested.” The News Agency noted that Majid Tavakoli had a record of insulting Islamic sanctities.
Prior to his recent arrests, Tavakoli had been arrested and imprisoned twice, once in 2008 during the fabrication of student publications when he served 1.5 years in prison, and another time in February 2009, when he participated in a memorial service for Mehdi Bazrgan, when he was imprisoned for more than 4 months.