University Student Activists Sentenced to Prison After Being Arrested by President Rouhani’s Intelligence Ministry
University of Tehran student activists Sina Darvish Omran and Ali Mozaffari were each sentenced to eight years in prison on June 11, 2018, by Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran for allegedly joining protests in Tehran earlier in the year.
“The judge issued the maximum sentence of eight years in prison but when the sentences are combined, only the five-year sentence for ‘assembly and collusion against national security’ will be applied,” a student activist told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on June 12, 2018.
“The court’s verdict was on the basis of reports given by Intelligence Ministry’s interrogators who forced the suspects to make confessions in the absence of legal counsel,” the source added. “The court did not pay attention to statements by the suspects in their defense.”
The two university students were convicted of the charges of acting against “national security” and waging “propaganda against the state.”
Judge Abolqasem Salavati, known for issuing harsh sentences in cases involving politically motivated charges, also issued a two-year ban that prohibits the students from traveling abroad, engaging in political activities and posting on the internet.
German language translator Sina Darvish Omran and anthropology major Ali Mozaffari were student activists at the University of Tehran when they were arrested by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry during street protests on December 30 and 31, 2017, respectively.
They were held in solitary confinement, interrogated without the presence of their lawyers and released on bail, said the source who requested anonymity for security reasons.
Street protests broke out in Mashhad, northeastern Iran, on December 28, 2017, against inflation and unemployment and spread to cities and campuses throughout the country.
More than 90 university students were arrested by the Intelligence Ministry, which operates under President Hassan Rouhani, even though several said they never attended the protests.
The detained students were prosecuted by Branch 15 and 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, whose judges have a documented history of colluding with the arresting authority before handing down sentences.
In early March 2018, Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 26 also sentenced three Tehran University student activists for allegedly attending the protests.
Anthropology student Leila Hosseinnejad was given a six-year prison sentence and banned from traveling for two years, theater set design student Mohsen Haghshenas got two years in prison, and sociology student Sina Rabiei received a one-year prison sentence and a two-year travel ban.