Some University Students Still Detained a Month After Iran’s Protests Despite Officials’ Claims
Contrary to Iranian official’s claims that all the university students who were detained in connection with Iran’s December 2017 protests have been released, some remain in custody without access to legal counsel.
“It is not correct to say that all of them have been freed,” a Tehran University student activist who asked not to be identified told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 9, 2018. “At least five students are still in detention and they don’t have a lawyer.”
According to the source who requested anonymity for security reasons, the student detainees are Farshid Tajmiri and Majid Rahmatabadi of the University of Hamadan’s technical college, and Pouria Ramazanian, Vahid Lanjanzadeh and Zahra Rahimi of the University of Tehran. They were arrested between January 5 and February 5, 2018.
Rahimi was released late on February 9 and Lanjanzadeh on February 10, according to human rights activist Hamidreza Taghipour’s blog.
At least 90 university students were arrested during the nationwide protests in Iran between December 2017 and early January 2018. Most of them have been released, but despite officials’ claims, a few remain in detention.
“All students detained in the recent demonstrations have been freed and none remain in detention,” said Gholamreza Ghaffari, the Science Ministry’s deputy in charge of cultural and social affairs, in an interview with the semi-official Mehr News Agency on January 24, 2018.
But on February 8, Tehran University Chancellor Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi said several students were still in detention “even though they were not involved in any political activities on campus.”
“We didn’t have any problems with these students and they didn’t have any problem with the university. We don’t know why they have been detained. I have asked my colleagues to urgently follow up on the cases concerning these student detainees but the security officials are not providing us all the information,” Ahmadabadi told the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
In Hamadan, the head of the technical college, Shahab Kazemi, said on February 3 that one of the known detainees, Majid Rahmatabadi, was not a student at his college, a claim rejected by the University Trade Unions’ Council of Iran (UTUCI).
“When the authorities make these denials, the families get 10 times more worried because we are hearing a lot of reports about deaths and suicides in custody these days,” said the Tehran University student activist who spoke to CHRI.