(Rooz Online) | February 18, 2010
Note from INN (not in the original article in Rooz Online): The Student Association, the Office to Strengthen Unity is one of Iran’s largest and strongest student organizations, and has played a significant role in organizing student protests since the rigged presidential elections in June of 2009.
Pressures continue on Iran’s largest student organization, Daftar Tahkim Vahdat (Office to Strengthen Unity). Earlier in the week, news came that Amin Nazari, a member of the central council of the student group and the head of its human rights division was arrested, despite his poor health. Till today, no details about his situation have been put forth by authorities.
In a related development, published reports indicate that Morteza Simiari, another member of the group’s governing body continues to be held in solitary confinement in ward 240 of Evin prison in Tehran. Simiari is the social secretary of the student group who continues to be isolated in prison even though the court has already held his trial session and his last defense was submitted as well.
Simiari was arrested after an EU parliamentary team that was visiting Iran invited this student activist to meet it. He was arrested before such a meeting but is facing charges for a meeting that never materialized. The arrest resulted in a protest by EU parliamentary team, which decided to cancel the trip to Iran scheduled to begin on Thursday. In a formal letter to Iranian officials the leader of the EU delegation Barbara Lochbihler, which had officially requested to meet with some opposition figures, asked for the release of Simiari because he was being detained for a meeting that never took place as he had not even responded to an email request for a meeting with the delegation. In her letter to the Iranian ambassador in Brussels, Lochbihler asked for Simiari’s immediate and unconditional release from prison. In his trial, Simiari told the judge that in his response to the EU invitation he had told the delegation leader that he would meet with them if arrangements were made with the Iranian foreign ministry for its representative to be present at the meeting.
Simiari is being held in ward 240 of Evin which is under the control of the IRGC revolutionary guards and informed sources have said that members of Daftar Tahkim Vahdat in the prison are under growing pressure to dissolve the student group.
In a related news story, Mehdi Arabshahi, student activist and secretary of the student group was transferred to the general ward in Evin. Arabshahi was arrested about 2 months ago and according to Kalameh website belonging to reformers his interrogations seem to have been completed after which he was moved to the general prison ward, which means he should soon be allowed to have contacts with the outside world.
It should be noted that till today, there is no news about two other members of the group, Milad Asadi and Bahareh Hedayat who were also arrested earlier.
Student Arrest from Elm va Sanaat University
Yaser Khosravizadeh, a fourth-year student in electrical engineering and a student activist from the Elm va Sanaat Science and Technology University was arrested on February 9th after going to the “Follow Up” committee of the ministry of intelligence. No news has been put forth about him till today.
During the week ending on February 11, 2010, many cultural, trade and publishing activists from this university had been summoned to this committee, some repeatedly, where they were interrogated regarding emails and text messaging. Among them, Ruhollah Sahrai, Alireza Abufazeli and Yaser Khosravizadeh were arrested and imprisoned in Evin prison while the charges against them have not been made public.
More Pressure on Student Activists in Gilan University
News reports indicate that during the last two weeks, there is growing pressure on students from Gilan University in northern Iran. One student from the university told Rooz in a short interview, “Many students have been summoned to the disciplinary committee during this period. At the time registration for the new academic term, students were forced to make pledges that they would not participate in gatherings and demonstrations of Iran’s Green Movement, which if broken would result in their expulsion from the university.”
This student went on to explain the situation by saying, “In addition to these problems, we have observed that during this period even students who are involved in social activities are put under pressure and many are regularly called to appear before the school’s disciplinary committee. At the same time, the trial of many arrested students who took part at various rallies has begun. According to those who were present at the trials, the judge in the trials has been mistreating the detainees who have been threatened with heavy prison sentences.”
Beating of a Student at Alamaeh University
An MS student at Alameh Tabatabai University was arrested on February 11, 2010 in Tehran’s Sadeghie district. According to Human Rights Reporters Committee, seyed Mansur Mousavi, was arrested on that day. Witnesses said they saw him being beaten up on the street and his personal belongings taken away from him as he was pushed into a bus at Sadeghie square in Tehran, as he was arrested. Mousavi’s family members said they did not where Mansur was being detained. Mousavi is a former student activist who according to friends and family members was not associated with any group at the time of his arrest.
Freedom and Absence Knowledge
Latest news reports indicate the prison release of Maziyar Samii, a student arrested on February 3, 2010 while no news has been provided about the situation of Tara Sepehrifar, the secretary of the Islamic Association of Sharif Industrial University, causing stress and concern to her family members.
This chemical engineering student had been arrested earlier this summer as well around Ghoba mosque in Tehran. Till today, no news about the whereabouts or charges of the arrest has been made public. An informed source close to the family had earlier told Rooz , “We have absolutely no news about the reason for the arrest, the charges or the place where Sepehri was being held. We are pursuing the matter to see what information we can get about his situation.” Till the time of this posting, no news about this student has come forth.
In a related news report, the trial of Peyman Aref, an MS political science student at Tehran University who had been marked by authorities to be a student activist was postponed to February 22, 2010. Peyman Aref was servicing his military conscription term when he was arrested on June 17, 2009, soon after the presidential elections on charges of web blogging and giving interviews to Persian media outside Iran by Gilan’s military prosecutor on behalf of Tehran’s military prosecutor and was transferred to Evin’s general ward to complete his previous prison term of 18 months after spending some 70 days in solitary confinement. It is reported that he was brutally tortured during his interrogation and beaten up to the point where he lost a tooth and his chin has been seriously injured.
In another arrest event, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabai, defense attorney for student Sajad Sadeh reported that the trial of his client which was to be held last Tuesday at the 28th branch of the revolutionary court had been postponed on the request of the prisoner. Tabatabai said the charges brought against his client were engaging in acts against national security and participation in demonstrations inside the university.