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Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    News & views

Students under the death threat

P.O. Box 2422
Portland, OR. 97208
Email: ihrwg@Tehran.Stanford.Edu

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 (IHRWG)


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