PUBLIC

AI Index: MDE 13/098/2007

1 August 2007

UPDATE

Further Information on UA 113/07 (MDE 13/054/2007, 15 May 2007) and follow-up (MDE 13/077/2007, 22 June 2007)

Fear for safety/Fear of torture and ill-treatment/Medical concern

IRAN

Students at Amir Kabir University, Tehran:
Ahmad Qasaban (m) (spelling corrected)

Moqdad Khalilpour (m)

Pooyan Mahmoudian (m)

Majid Tavakkoli (m)

Majid Sheikhpour (m)

Ehsan Mansouri (m)

Abbas Hakimzadeh (m)

Ali Saberi (m)

Five of the students named above were released on bail on 18 July. Ahmad Qasaban, Majid Tavakkoli and Ehsan Mansouri have reportedly begun a hunger strike in protest at their continuing detention. They are reportedly being subjected to torture.

The families of the three remaining detained students have reportedly been able to visit them twice since their arrest. On 24 July the families wrote an open letter to the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, in which they describe publicly for the first time the torture and ill-treatment of the students. The three students reportedly told their families that seven of their interrogators simultaneously had beaten them severely with cables and whips. Their interrogation sessions sometimes lasted up to 24 hours or would take place in the middle of the night. They were kicked in the arms, chest and back and punched in the face and on the head, so that they fell off their chairs and were then thrown against the walls. They have been forced to remain standing for up to 48 hours and forced to stand on one leg for up to 18 hours. They have been prevented from receiving medical care. Interrogators also told them, falsely, that members of their families had been arrested, beaten or harassed, or were ill.

The families had previously written three times to Ayatollah Shahroudi expressing concern that their children were being physically and psychologically ill-treated to make them confess to crimes they had not committed, and asking him to take action to halt this.

Abbas Hakimzadeh and Ali Saberi, who are six months from finishing their studies at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, have reportedly been suspended for two terms and banned from entering university premises.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The crisis at Amir Kabir University started on 30 April 2007 with the publication of student newsletters carrying articles which university officials deemed insulting to Islam.

These newsletters, bearing the names and logos of four student publications, were distributed throughout the campus. They contained three controversial articles and two caricatures which could have been perceived as critical of the Iranian regime and insulting to Islam. Distribution of the publications took place one week before the annual elections to a student union, the Islamic Students’ Association (ISA).

One article questioned the infallibility of the Prophet Mohammad, the first Shi’a Imam, Ali and the place of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Another criticised the government's crackdown on women’s clothing, and a third ridiculed Islamic women’s attire.

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