Sunday, January 20, 2008

petition on line by amnesty international
All except two of the 20-30 students arrested for participating in the demonstrations for the National University Students' Day on 7 December 2007 are still detained without charge. At least nine other students, including Anahita Hosseini and Bita Naghashiyan, have been arrested in recent days. They may be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and association. It is feared that they could be tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention.

According to information available to Amnesty International, students Milad Moini and Younes Mir Hosseini have been released. However, the organization has a list of 52 names of all those who have been detained because of their alleged links with the student demonstrations, though there is no further information on the circumstances of their arrest or on their current whereabouts.

Activists from two students' groups, the Office for Strengthening Unity (Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat) and Students for Freedom and Equality (Daneshjouyan-e Azadi Khah va Beraber Talab) are among those who took part in these demonstrations. Before they were arrested many of the students received mobile phone text messages that threatened them with arrest if they participated in the events.

One detained student, whose identity is not known, is believed to have attempted suicide. Unconfirmed reports state that pressure exerted by officials and harsh detention conditions may have been factors in this suicide attempt. The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence has suggested that students were in possession of "catapults, sound grenades [sic], alcoholic drinks and misleading books." Students groups have dismissed these claims as fabrications.

The Islamic Republic News Agency reported on 15 January that the judiciary spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, stated that 11 university students "arrested during the past month’s student unrest" would soon be released on bail, without specifying the identity of those to be released. However, other reports received on 15 January
indicate that an additional nine students have been detained in Tehran, apparently for their involvement in the demonstrations for the University Students’ Day.


Student groups have been at the forefront of demands for greater human rights in Iran in recent years. Since the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005, there have been increasing restrictions on civil society in Iran. In April 2007, Minister of Intelligence Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie publicly accused student activists and campaigners for the rights of women in Iran of being part of an "enemy conspiracy".

Using your own words, please choose a few of the suggestions below to create a personal appeal and send it as quickly as possible: [click here for a brief guide to help you write your letter]:

calling on the authorities to release all students detained in December 2007 in connection with National University Students Day who are held solely on account of the peaceful exercise of their rights;
calling for any other students in detention to be tried promptly and fairly, in accordance with international fair trial standards, on recognisably criminal charges or else released;
seeking details of any charges brought against those in detention;
seeking assurances that none of those arrested is subject to torture or other ill treatment;
calling on the authorities to ensure that these detainees have access to relatives, legal representation, and any medical attention they may require;
reminding the authorities that confessions extracted under torture are prohibited by Article 38 of the constitution of Iran, which says that "All forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden," and that Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which Article 7 states that "No one shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., South of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: (Subject line: FAO Ayatollah)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Mr Seyed Mahdi Mohebi
Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy for the Islamic Republic of Iran
245 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2K2
Fax: (613) 232-5712

Please take action without delay. Thank you!

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