Indictments Issued Against Dozens in Connection With December 2017 Unrest in Iran
Some Charged with “Crimes Against National Security”
“About 100 indictments” have been issued in connection with protests that took place in late December 2017 and early January 2018, the Prosecutor of Tehran Province, Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, announced in an interview with Mizan, the Iranian Judiciary’s official news agency, on April 26.
Some of the accused have been charged with “crimes against national security,” he said.
The judicial official did not specify if these indictments were issued nationwide or were only related to cases in Tehran. Nor did he explain on what basis demonstrations against such problems as high prices and unemployment had been deemed to be crimes against national security.
Following an inspection of Evin Prison in January 2018, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Judicial and Legal Affairs, Allahyar Malekshahi, said more than 4,500 individuals had been arrested nationwide during the protests, of which 438 were still behind bars.
In February, more than 20 university student organizations expressed concern that dozens of students faced national security charges that could send them to jail for many years simply for participating in peaceful protests in late December 2017.
“Unfortunately, the criminalization of student activities is a problem that persists at full strength despite being criticized by student activists for many years,” said the statement.
“All the detained students have been released on bail but in recent days a considerable number of them have been summoned to court and informed of serious charges,” the statement added.
Tehran University officials have not pressed any charges and have tried to distance themselves from the prosecutions.
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 with all the information,” Ahmadabadi told the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).