The Defenders of Human Rights Center issued a statement addressed to officials urging them to release all imprisoned students, annul the sentences issued in the cases brought against student which limit their social rights, especially the right to continue with their education, and create a secure and caring environment for students and the youth of the country. This statement, published on March 12, 2009, cites examples of clear violations of human rights in the university environment. The translation of the text of this statement appears below:
We approach the Iranian New Year (March 21) and the Spring season, at a time when during the weeks and month leading up to this celebratory occasion, we were witness to some bitter and worrisome developments within the country, especially in Universities.
From long ago, the youth of this country would welcome the season of Spring and with that they would infuse their families and friends with a sense of joy and spirit. Noruz, the Iranian New Year, is an old and sweet tradition and custom among Iranians and the youth have nothing but their youth, pride and spirit to offer as presents in observance of the new season. The beautiful and compassionate traditions of the Iranians on the verge of the New Year--the Spring and season of life--should not and cannot be forgotten.
But in the weeks leading up to the New Year, worrisome news from the Universities has held bitter warnings and tales for defenders of human rights.
Reports received by the Defenders of Human Rights Center, are concerning. Indeed we have been witness to the nearly daily pressures on students at universities across the country, including arrest, summons, suspension from university, physical violence, trials and sentencing of student activists. What has transpired and reported in Tehran, Shiraz, Hamedan, Zahedan and Kurdistan is represents only a portion of what can be clearly identified as violations of human rights at the University level. These examples include:
--The issuance of disciplinary sentences against students and the imposition of a ban preventing students from entering campus grounds at Sistan and Baluchestan University.
--Arrest of students, revoking the right to education of students and summoning tens of students at Shiraz University (despite the fact that they had been banned from continuing their studies).
--Shutting down the Islamic Student Association at the Technical University of Isfahan.
--Arrest of four students associated with leftist groups.
--Arrest of Majid Tavakoli, Hossien Tarkashvand, Ismail Salmanpour and Kourosh Daneshyar students at Amir Kabir University, followed by the arrest of Abbas HakimZadeh, Ahmad Ghassaban, Mehdi Mashayekhi, and Nariman Mostafavi also students at Amir Kabir Unviersity.
--Arrest of Alireza Davoodi and Bahman Khodaie two students in Isfahan.
--The beating and arrest of nearly 70 students at Amir Kabir University as reported in the press, who had protested the burial of martyrs on university grounds.
--Upholding of the sentences issued against students in Kurdistan.
--Summons of students at the Technical University of Babol to the University Disciplinary Committee.
--The hunger strike of Younes MirHosseini a Shiraz University student who was arrested and the subsequent arrest of his wife, Sahar Yazdani.
--Summons of 15 students of Khaje Nasir Eddin University to the disciplinary committee.
--Security pressure, arrest and search of homes of students and seizure of their personal property with respect to students at Shiraz University.
--Calling the Islamic Student Association of the Anoushirvani Technical University in Mazandaran illegal and shutting down its offices.
--Sentencing 7 university students in Tabriz to prison terms.
As a result the Defenders of Human Rights Center announces that the actions taken against the students are not only in contradiction to national law and the international obligations of the government of Iran, but are also in contradiction to our cultural and religious beliefs. These actions are not defensible, no matter what the logic. As such, we insist and demand that on the verge of the New Year officials take the following immediate actions:
1.Release immediately all imprisoned students around the country.
2.Reverse all sentences issued against students that aim to prevent them from taking advantage of their social rights, but especially their right to continue their education.
3.Create a secure and loving environment for Iranian youth and university students, who are indeed the hope of a brighter future for our country.
Defenders of Human Rights Center
March 12, 2009