Students under the death threat
P.O. Box 2422
Portland, OR. 97208
23rd November 1999
According to reports in the press, three of the people arrested after
the July unrest at university campuses in Iran are still facing the death
sentence. Scores of other students have been sentenced to long term imprisonment,
while an unspecific number of other detainees, possibly running into hundreds,
are still in prison or unaccounted for. Widespread use of torture against
the detainees has also been reported. Gholam-Hossein Rahbarpoor, head
of the 'Revolutionary Court' was quoted by Asr-e Azadegan daily today (Tuesday
23rd November 99) as saying that death sentences on three detainess "have
been confirmed by the appeal court". These three are among the four
people that were reported earlier by him to have been sentenced to death
for their part in the students' demonstrations in July of this year.
Mr. Rahbarpoor again gave this news in the course of a 'question and
answer' session at a university and not through the normal judicial channels
(his previous pronouncement was in an interview with a daily newspaper).
And again, he gave no details of the names and particulars of the accused,
where or when the sentences have been issued or the appeals heard, or how
the prosecutions have been conducted.
The Iranian Human Rights Working Group is gravely concerned about the
fate of these students and appeals to the Iranian and international communities
to do whatever possible to prevent this gross violation of human rights
from taking place. We also strongly condemn the manner in which these
and other detainees have been tried and their sentences being pronounced.
All the sentences have been handed down without the minimum standards
of fair trials or provisions of the Iranian laws. None of these trials
have taken place in an open court or the defendants given the right to
be represented by defence lawyers of their choice. Moreover, many of the
detainees have been subjected to torture in the course of interrogation
in order to make them confess - and then the same confessions have been
used against them. Some of these confessions were broadcast on the national
TV as an attempt to justify the harsh sentences issued against them.
We once more call upon the Iranian government to put an end to the arbitrary
nature and brutal practice of the judiciary system, and in particular the
revolutionary courts, and abide by its obligations under the international
and domestic laws governing fair and open trials. We further demand that
all the unlawful sentences handed out against the detainees are revoked,
and all those arrested for their part in the students' demonstration are
released immediately. Moreover, we remind the government that it is obliged
to bring all the perpetrators of the attacks on the students and their
dormitories to justice, and until such time that this is done it bears
the ultimate responsibility for the deaths and destruction caused by those
attacks and the subsequent suppression of the students' demonstrations.
Iranian Human Rights Working Group