Thursday, April 24, 2008

About Freedom and Equality Seeking Students

April 2008
For Immediate Release
Please copy and distribute via print and electronic media

The “Freedom and Equality Seeking Students” (also known as “Daneshjoojyan'e azadi khah ,khah va barabari'talab” or “DAB”) is a group of radical Iranian university students. In 2006, the group began its opposition to Iran’s dominant classes and their ideological apparatus. Marxian analysis of contemporary society served to provide the guiding principles of their movement. The bloody repression of Iran’s leftist groups throughout the 1980’s
amounted to nothing short of a political genocide -- a matter that is largely overlooked by contemporary historians. The Freedom and Equality Seeking Students knew this and chose to forge a brave path forward despite the risks before them.

Their original objectives included the following:
1) To form a nationwide network of politically active Iranian students.
2) To fulfill the need for a students’ guild in Iran.
3) To abolish the military occupation of Iranian universities.

These goals were essential points in their organization of Iran’s Students’ Day (Azar 16)
demonstrations of 2006. The two essential slogans in the 2006 Students’ Day activities were “No to War!” and “Free Universities from Invading Military Forces!”

Continuing in their efforts to spread the word regarding the struggle, DAB promoted their opinion and their theory through articles published in university-based magazines and local newspapers from various cities in Iran. The also published work through literary sites such as Art Cult and Mind Motor.

Iranian students continued the important work of organizing demonstrations through 2007, holding events on March 8 (International Women’s Day) and May 1 (May Day). The final scheduled event of 2007 was the annual Students’ Day event, (December 6 or Azar 16 1386). The event was planned as a huge, coordinated series of demonstrations to be held at universities across the entire nation. The Iranian regime was alarmed and threatened by the political implications of these events and exercised extreme repression in an effort to disrupt Students’ Day activities. Three days before Students’ Day 2007, political leaders, organizers and students affiliated with Iranian students were arrested and imprisoned. All together, about 70 people were arrested including friends and relatives of Iranian students members.
Some of the people arrested in the second round of the crackdown were friends and relatives of DAB students. They were released after a week. About 60 of the arrested students remained in custody for 20 to 30 days, enduring solitary confinement and torture. Most of these individuals were required to post exorbitant amounts of money for bail prior to being released. They are currently awaiting trial for their alleged “crimes.” There is news that there are unbelievably heavy sentences tailored for the DAB students. We fear very heavy sentences including extended periods of imprisonment and execution for group members and DAB leaders.

These brave students have done nothing but practiced their freedom of expression in a very peaceful manner within the limits of the Iranian constitution. To date, four of the leaders of the Freedom and Equality Seeking Students remain in custody. During the course of their imprisonment, they have been subjected to horrendous mistreatment and torture . Even now, as of the date of this correspondence, this abuse continues on a regular basis. The imprisoned leaders of Iranian students remain in custody and under extreme conditions because their families cannot raise the high bail amounts imposed by the courts.

Behruz Karimi Zadeh is now kept in Ward 209 of the Evin prison. He is suffering from extreme trauma resulting in internal hemorrhages . His right ear is deaf and bleeding. His bail is set at $300,000 dollars, an amount beyond his family’s reach.

Peyman Piran is losing his eyesight. He is having difficulty walking and his shoulder blade is damaged because of being hanged by the hands for long hours. He is kept at ward 350 of Evin prison.

Ali Kantoury could not be recognized by his colleagues because he is terribly sick , suffering from skin disease, constant vomiting and difficulty breathing. All of these conditions are the direct results of his mistreatement while in custody. Moreover, he has been denied medical treatment, thus exacerbating his significant health problems. He is kept in Rajayee Shahr prison, a notorious prison for political prisoners . Conditions in the prison are very harsh and political prisoners face harassment and attack from criminal inmates at the direction of prison guards.

Majid PourMaajed was stabbed while walking in the streets of Tabriz. He was kidnapped a week later and taken to jail. In a matter of 10 days, he was taken to a hospital in Tabriz. He was found to be unconscious at the time of his admission. The specialist who visited him advised press that Pour Maajed’s arms were covered by cigarette burns and that he was repeatedly vomiting. It was also reported that Pour Maajed was urinating blood because a hot rod had been inserted into his genitals. Pour Maajed was still in coma 3 days later when intelligence service agents moved him to an undisclosed location. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Amin Ghaza’ee is currently out of jail on $50,000 bail. Both Amnesty International and PEN International issued statements expressing concern on his well being during his imprisonment. Amin Ghaza’ee is currently awaiting trial along with his friends.

These students and political activists -- all of whom range in age from 20 to 25 years old -- are facing serious sentences, including lengthy periods of imprisonment and even execution. The fabricated allegations against group leaders include charges of apostasy, attempting to overthrow the Iranian regime and collusion with opposition groups outside of the country. Each of these charges is punishable by death according to the Islamic legal system of Iran. The students fear that when the allegations are presented in the court, there will not be much time to defend against these charges. It will be difficult and to rescue these victims of the Iranian regime’s wrath from the forces of reactionary oppression.

Some DAB members are trying to flee Iran. Some are seeking asylum in Turkey and some have reached European countries and established temporary residences. They are all in need of financial and humanitarian aid permanent residences in friendly countries.

Up until now, only Human Rights Watch has expressed public concern by issuing a statement of concern regarding the torture of the imprisoned Iranian students.

The struggle of the Freedom and Equality Seeking Students of Iran deserves international attention. For far too long, religious and humanitarian organizations as well as progressives and radicals worldwide have turned a blind eye to the situation in Iran. Many comrades have faced extreme repression, torture and execution while the international Left has remained silent. This is more than unfortunate...It is a virtual betrayal of their efforts and sacrifices.

Some groups and organizations have hesitated to express solidarity with the Iranian students because they do not understand the basic philosophical tenets of Iranian students. It is possible that non-political groups might find any group operating under the principles of Marxist theory to be somewhat suspect, particularly if such organizations are operating under a “Cold War” mentality. The political and philosophical framework of Iranian students is simple: These students -- who are admittedly secular -- have engaged in a very open-minded approach towards Marxism and they are sensitive to matters regarding individual rights and civil liberties. They believe equality and freedom are essential for a nation’s well being and they hold that civil and constitutional rights for women, as well as racial, ethnic, religious, and sexually-oriented minority groups must be practiced in their motherland of Iran.

The Equality and Freedom Seeking University Students of Iran never attempted to overthrow the government of Iran. They never attempted assist foreign countries in interfering with Iranian affairs. They never attempted an insurgency against the Iranian regime. They have committed no crimes.

Our comrades are desperately in need of international media attention as well as assistance from political and humanitarian organizations.

Time is fleeting and history and the situation is urgent. History will judge us harshly should we fail to support or comrades-in-arms.


In solidarity,
Mike B.
Hooman Kazemian
and, Friends of the Freedom and Equality Seeking Students of Iran

For more information, please visit these websites:
Nothing Can Stop Us
Friends of the Equality and Freedom Seeking University Students of Iran (Facebook group)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Freedom and Equality Seeking students

Freedom and Equality Seeking students, related to radical left, is a group of Marxist students in Iran`s universities. Through Marxian analysis of Iranian contemporary society, the group began its activities against dominant classes and their ideological apparatus in the beginning the new millennium. After the bloody repressions of leftist groups in the early 1980`s, what can be called a political genocide (and what is largely overlooked in the contemporary history), the group began its activities on 2006. Their aim was to form a network in universities nationwide to follow up and actualize trade and political requirements of students and fill up the need for an student guild in the country and to abolish the military occupancy of the universities in Iran. The two essential slogans in the student day, Azar 16, was No to War, and Free Universities from Invading Military Forces. The students promoted their opinion and their theory through articles published in university based magazines, and local newspapers in various cities in Iran, and in literary sites such as Art Cult and Mind Motor. One of DAB’s (Freedom and Equality Seeking Students) most important undertakings were demonstrations in dates such as Azar 16 (the national student’s day), May 1, and March 8. On the last event, Azar 16 1386, 2007, the event was exceptionally huge, celebrated country-wide by university students, and very effective especially because the leaders of the group were all arrested and taken to jail 3 days prior to the event.
All together about 70 people were arrested including friends and relatives of the group members. Those not belonged to the group were let out after a week or so. 60 of the group members were released with very heavy bails and are awaiting trial for their alleged crimes. There are news that there are nubeliebly heavy sentences tailored for the members and the leaders of the group, whom had only practiced their freedom of expression in a very peaceful manner within the limits of the constitution. 4 of the leaders and the masterminds of the group are still in jail and still under horrendous tortures.
Behruz KarimiZadeh, is now kept in ward 209, Evin prison. He is suffering from anal and internal hemorrhage . His right ear is deaf, and bleeding. His bail is set on 300.000 dollars, an amount beyond his family’s dream. Peyman Piran, is losing his eyesight. He is having difficulty walking, and his shoulder blade is damaged because of being hanged by the hands for long hours, he is kept at ward 350, Evin prison. Ali Kantoury) couldn’t be recognized by his colleagues, he is terribly sick and suffering from skin disease, constant vomiting and difficulty breathing, all of which occurred while in jail. He is kept in Rajayee Shahr prison, a notorious prison were political prisoners are sent were they are regularly hurt and attacked by criminal inmates instructed by the jail-keepers to punish political prisoners. Majid PourMaajed was knifed while walking in the streets of Tabriz. He was kidnapped a week later and was taken to jail. In a matter of 10 days he was taken to a hospital in Tabriz, unconscious. The specialist who visited him said to the press that PourMajed’s arms were covered by cigarette burns, and he urinated blood because of hot-rod inserted in his genitals, he was constantly vomiting. He was still in coma 3 days later when he was transferred again by the intelligent service agents to an un-known place.
Another one of the leaders of the group, Amin Ghaza’ee, for whom the Amnesty International and PEN International have give out statements expressing concern on the wellbeing of the writer in prison, is released on a bail 50.000 dollars. He is awaiting trial along with his friends. There news that these student and political activists, all between 20 to 25 years old, are facing heavy sentences, either execution or up to 20 years in jail. The allegation fabricated for the group leaders, such as apostasy and attempting to overthrow the regime and having connection with the outside opposition groups, are each punished by death according to the Islamic laws practiced in Islamic Republic of Iran. The group fears that when the allegations are presented in the court, there is not much time to prove the allegation hoax, and to rescue these victims of the Iranian regime’s wreath against the opposition mind.
Also, there are members of the group trying to flee Iran. Some are wandering on the borders to cross over, and some are seeking asylum in Turkey, some have reached a European country. They are all in need of financial and immigration help and must be taken to safe homes or countries.
Up until now, only the Human Rights Watch has shown concern with disbursing an statement of concern over the possibility of the students being tortured.
The group needs media and international attention since because of their beliefs they are not favored by Iranian Moslims, Liberal, and not even by the leftist living abroad since 1979, the reason, the group believes is because of misunderstanding their views on Marxism. It seems that they are being boycotted by the media, and the key organization which should take action at time like this to defend such prisoners of conscience falling victim to such tortures only to confess to crimes which they have never done. The students, admittedly secular, have been taken on a very open-minded approach towards Marxist teachings and are sensitive about individual and civil rights. They believe equality and freedom is essential for a nation’s well being, they believe civil and constitutional rights for racial, ethnic, religious, gender and sexual minority groups is in line with human rights and must be practiced in their motherland, Iran.
The group never attempted to overthrow the government of Iran, never attempted to give way to foreign countries to interfere with Iran’s affairs, never attempted to attack the regime armed or not। They are in need of international media and individual, Marxist or humanitarian organizations’ attention and assistance.
Hooman kazemian

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Detained Students May Face Detained Students May Face Torture

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Detained Students May Face Torture
Authorities Should Investigate Allegations of Abuse

(Washington, DC, April 10, 2008) – Iranian authorities should immediately investigate allegations that Ministry of Information agents and interrogators tortured four detained student activists, and punish officials involved in such abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. According to sources familiar with the case, the students have suffered physical and psychological abuse during detention. Three students remain imprisoned, and the whereabouts of the fourth detainee, taken from his hospital bed on April 5, are unknown.

Iranian authorities accuse the four students of taking part in “armed activities” and “forming groups against the state।” Lawyers representing the students have not had access to their clients or their files. Human Rights Watch is concerned that authorities may have detained the students merely for exercising their rights to peacefully gather and express dissent. “Iran should either charge these students with a crime, or release them,” said Joe Stork, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Officials must investigate the reports of torture and punish anyone it finds responsible.” The four detainees, Behrooz Karimizadeh, Peyman Piran, Ali Kantouri, and Majid Pourmajid, are activists with the organization Students Seeking Freedom and Equality. The group states that it seeks to peacefully resist various forms of inequality and exploitation. The group has branches and members on university campuses throughout Iran. Since December 2007, Iranian authorities have arrested over 40 students affiliated with the group. All but the four mentioned above are free; some of the students released alleged that their interrogators tortured and ill-treated them while in detention. The arrests appear to have been triggered by demonstrations planned on several campuses to commemorate Students Day on December 7, 2007. Known by the date according to the Iranian calendar, 16 of Azar, Students Day observes the day in 1953 when police fatally shot three student protesters at the University of Tehran. The authorities began targeting members of the Students Seeking Freedom and Equality a few days before the planned events and continued to harass key members for months afterwards. The crackdown appears to be focused on the Students Seeking Freedom and Equality. On December 2, 2007, Ministry of Information agents arrested Behrooz Karimizadeh, 22, at the home of a friend in Tehran. Two days later, plainclothes agents from that ministry arrested Peyman Piran, as he was leaving Tehran University following peaceful student demonstrations on campus. Authorities are holding the pair in Units 209 and 305, respectively, in Evin prison in Tehran. Information received by Human Rights Watch suggests the authorities are subjecting the detainees to long periods of solitary confinement and various forms of physical and psychological ill-treatment. Approximately two weeks after the arrests of Karimizadeh and Piran, Ministry of Information agents arrested Ali Kantouri, also an activist with Students Seeking Freedom and Equality, in the town of Ghazvin, northwest of Tehran. Authorities transferred him to Ghezel Hesare, a prison located near the city of Karaj in Tehran province. Court officials refused to set bail for Kantouri and set prohibitively high bails for Piran and Karimizadeh (nearly US$300,000 for Karimizadeh). On March 29, 2008, Ministry of Information agents arrested Majid Pourmajid in the northwestern city of Tabriz and hospitalized him on April 2, 2008. Three days later, authorities transferred him from the hospital to an unknown location.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

British students elect jailed Iranian activist as honorary leader

On 2 April, the annual conference of the National Union of Students, attended by over 1,000 delegates from universities and colleges across the UK, voted overwhelmingly to elect Iranian student activist Anoosheh Azaadbar as an Honorary Vice-President.
Every year the conference elects one or more Honorary VPs, who remains in office for four years, as a symbol of solidarity with struggles for equality and freedom across the world. Last year, delegates elected jailed Tehran bus workers' leader Mansour Ossanlou.

The campaign to elect Anoosheh was run by Education Not for Sale (ENS), a socialist faction within the NUS. ENS member Darcy Leigh, a conference delegate from Edinburgh University, proposed the nomination with the following speech:

"Conference, last year we elected Mansour Ossanlou, leader of the Tehran bus workers' union, as our honorary vice president. This year, we can once again stand with workers and students in Iran by electing Anoosheh Azaadbar.

"Anoosheh is a student at Tehran University. She's one of 50 student activists arrested in Iran last December for organising protests against both a brutal and oppressive regime and the threat of imperialist war.

"Like most of those arrested, Anoosheh is a socialist - an activist in the group Freedom and Equality-Seeking Students, which seeks to link the student movement to the workers' and women's movements.

"Our sisters and brothers in Iran are faced by a regime that locks up and tortures both trade union and student activists; that executes LGBT people; that values women as 'half a man' in the eyes of the law and that persecutes religious and national minorities as well as anyone who speaks out against its crimes.
"They also face the threat of economic sanctions, bombing raids and invasion by the most powerful military machine on earth.

"Two of Anoosheh's student comrades have been killed in prison. Whilst Anoosheh and others have been released, four people remain in prison and they all face continued persecution.

"Conference, if you're serious about international solidarity, if you're serious about opposing war, if you're serious about freedom and democracy on campus and in society, elect Anoosheh Azaadbar as our honorary vice president."
Even though the conference did not have time to discuss motions on Iran, this election strengthens NUS's policy of combining opposition to war with support for workers', students', women's and other democratic movements from below in Iran. ENS will be fighting for that policy to be implemented vigorously.
For more information, please contact Sofie Buckland, an ENS member who sits on the NUS National Executive Committee, by emailing

For the manifesto and supporters' list for the campaign to elect Anoosheh, see the ENS website http://www।

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Will NUS conference oppose war and support Iranian students?

On Sunday 16 March, delegates from universities and colleges across the country met for NUS conference “compositing”, the process by which the various motions and amendments submitted to the conference are quite literally chopped up and reconstructed in more manageable units. Among these was a motion from the National Executive Committee, proposed by ENS supporter Sofie Buckland, and a similar one from Sheffield College, proposed by ENS supporter Heather Shaw, which commit NUS to sharply oppose war and sanctions against Iran and organise practical solidarity with students, workers and others fighting to overthrow Iran’s theocratic government from below.
Unfortunately, the composited motion, which will be discussed as an amendment under the heading “Global solidarity” in the “Society & Citizenship” debate, will be opposed by some on the left, with a formal speech being requested by Plymouth University.Plymouth was represented at the compositing meeting by one of their sabbatical officers, Alison Smith, who is a member of the SWP and Student Respect. Alison and the other Respect comrades argued that, while they do support students and workers in Iran, any sharp criticism of the Iranian regime will strengthen the hands of the US and British governments and increase the possibility of war - even if tied to a strong anti-war stance.
ENS believes this is illogical and ridiculous; the final amendment, which is reproduced below, in any case deals with similar arguments in some detail. We appeal to both the Plymouth University delegation and the Student Respect comrades to drop their opposition to supporting our brothers and sisters in Iran, and to unite with ENS to ensure that the conference adopts a strong and principled anti-war/pro-solidarity position.

Amendment to “Global solidarity” in “Society & Citizenship” debate
Proposed by Sheffield College, National Executive Committee
Conference believes
1. The American government continues to sabre-rattle against Iran.2. The Iranian government continues to repress students, workers and women engaged in pro-democracy struggles, including the repeated imprisonment and physical assault of trade unionists.3. That the arrest of over 50 left-wing Iranian student activists for organising anti-government protests in December last year - and the death in custody of one of them, Ebrahim Lotfollahi - shows the urgent need for solidarity.4. It also confirms our perspective of combining 100% opposition to war on Iran with 100% support for students’, workers’, women’s and other democratic movements seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic from below.5. That in 1999 we elected Iranian student leader Ahmed Bahtebi as NUS Honorary Vice-President, and in 2007 we elected Tehran bus workers’ leader Mansoor Ossanlou to the same position.
Conference further believes
1. That large numbers of students participated in the 2002-2003 movement against the war in Iraq.2. That huge numbers of students have participated in radical, pro-democracy struggles in Iran.3. That while many thousands of students were involved in the campaign against war on Iraq, NUS gave formal support but stood on the sidelines. We should not make the same mistake again.4. That anti-war campaigning will be neither principled nor effective unless it makes solidarity with the people of Iran against the theocratic regime oppressing and exploiting them.5. Just because the pro-war camp might disingenuously highlight Iran’s lack of democracy in its propaganda does not mean we have to pretend the opposite is the case.6. That opposing any war, invasion or other military action by American and/or its allies against Iran does not require us to silence our criticisms of the Iranian regime or put on our hold our support for movements inside Iran working for its democratic overthrow from below.7. In fact, making this support the central aspect of our opposition to war strengthens our position by allowing us to counterpose the imperialist regime change from above advocated by Bush et al to the democratic regime change from below fought for by our brothers and sisters inside Iran.
Conference resolves
1. To oppose any military action, economic sanctions etc against Iran.2. In the event of an attack, to throw the national union into the anti-war movement and support mass actions including occupations to stop the war.3. To continue and expand our solidarity with the organisations and movements of Iran’s workers, students, women, LGBT people and oppressed national minorities.4. To organise a student contingent on the next Stop the War Coalition demonstration with the slogans “No to war, no to theocracy – solidarity with students, workers and women in Iran”.5. To create a section of the NUS website aimed at raising awareness of democratic struggles in Iran.6. To send a message of greetings to our student comrades struggling inside Iran.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Danger of Death for Communist Students in Iran

Kave Heydari
In the past 4 months, the Islamic regime of Iran has attacked and oppressed the leaders and activists of the Iranian communist movement -- namely, the "Freedom and Equality Seeking University Students।" More than 41 of our comrades have been arrested and imprisoned since December 2007। These brave people have been brutally tortured and tormented. Because of international pressures, the Islamic regime has been forced to give some of these students "conditional release" on the condition their families pay considerable amounts for bail to provide these individuals limited freedom until their trial.
There are still four of our comrades in prison in Iran. Two of them, Behrouz Karimi-zadeh and Peyman Piran, remain in jail because their family cannot afford to post bail. The amount of bail for Behrouz Karimi-zadeh is over £160,000. The Iranian government will grant no release -- even conditional release on bail -- to the remaining two comrades, Ali Kantoori and Farhad Haji Mirzaie. They are in horrible condition. Even now they are endure barbaric torture.
Behrouz Karimi-zadeh is a writer and the chief-editor of Khak Journal, a well known voice in students' movements. He is among the founders of "Equality and Freedom Seeking Students". Behrouz is horribly injured from constant systematic tortures during the past 3 month. Mentally and physically, he is ill and in great pain. He has received especially severe tortures to break him down. He has unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide with the electric cord in his solitary cell. He was taken to the prison hospital, but he received only minimal treatment and before his injuries were healed, he was subjected to further torture. He was forced to "confess" on camera and renounce his own political and social activities and announce them as actions against the country's security;. These allegations can be punishable by execution according to the legislations in Iran. Behrouz's right ear is damaged and has become deaf following insertion of hard object in his ear. He has been subjected to high voltage electric shocks on various parts of his body including his genitals, and his body has been flogged with cable, especially on the soles of his feet. This torture was carried out while Behrouz was in his solitary cell. His bail amount of US$300,000, is unprecedented and it is impossible for his family to pay it. This amount is unheard of for a bail in Iran and it is believed that the bail has been set intentionally high so that his family cannot afford it. His family was told that should the bail not get paid, Behrouz will be transferred to a prison for criminals very soon. Iran's judiciary authorities have announced that the government cannot protect his safety after his transfer to such a prison. His family believes that this is a conspiracy to have him killed by criminal inmates.
Also, I have been informed that the life of Peyman Piran is seriously in danger. He has been imprisoned since December and has endured brutal medieval torture techniques and his health condition is very bad. Peyman's right shoulder and leg are badly damaged due to constant brutal torture.
Farhad Haji Mirzaie, a member of the Association for the Protection of Children's Rights and a founding member of the "Association of Defence" of Political Prisoners and Human Rights in Iran, has been subjected to severe and systematic punishment and torture in an attempt to force him to confess to fabricated allegations. While in jail, his residence was raided by the security forces and his personal belongings were taken away.
Ali Kantoori, a famous activist leader who was abducted off the street by government agents, is in a bad condition. His rib cage has been broken down under torture. Because he refused to accept what under interrogations was asked him to confess, he has replaced to another prison ‐Ghezel Hesar ‐ as punishment. He remains in a cell in very critical condition. Ali suffers from illnesses and he is denied medical treatment. The government does not allow Ali's family to provide any bail for him. Ali's family has been advised that Ali must be imprisoned unconditionally.
We desperately need to raise money to provide bail for our comrades Behrouz Karimi-zadeh and Peyman Piran and we need INTERNATIONAL support to release from danger of death our comrades Farhad Haji Mirzaie and Ali Kantoori. The "Freedom and Equality Seeking University Students" have published an account number in their official website to provide our comrades bail. Let's prevent another human tragedy at the hands of the Islamic Republic against OUR COMRADES, the Iranian Student activists.
Name: K।H 
Sort Code: 40-04-37
Account Number: 01568604
Bank: HSBC
Iban: GB85 MIDL 400 4370 1568 604
Adress: HSBC, Muswelhill Broadway, London

release our comrades