Scientists call for release of students
About Iran... has received
the following letter from the Committee of Concerned Scientists in defense
of detained Iranian students and other pro-democracy students which is
addressed to Secretary General Kofi Annan and High Commissioner Mary Robinson.
Please circulate this letter as widely as possible. Attached is the letter
we faxed today on behalf of the suffering students in Iran.
October 26, 1999
The Honorable Kofi Annan
United Nations, New York, NY
Faxed to (212) 963-4879
The Honorable Mary Robinson High Commissioner for Human Rights
Faxed to 011 41-22-9170123
We address you in the hope of enlisting your aid in rescuing hundreds
of pro-democracy students in Iran from the repression they are suffering.
We speak in the name of our organization of scientists, physicians and
academics dedicated to the protection of the human rights and academic
freedom of our counterparts around the world.
We are appalled and deeply troubled by the brutal attack on students
in the dormitory of Tehran University on July 9 in retaliation for their
earlier peaceful protest against the closure of the reformist daily, Salaam,
and the enactment a law further restricting already limited freedom of
the press. In that attack students were severely beaten, some were thrown
out of windows, and at least one was killed. In its wake, the Islamic
Republic has admitted that hundreds of students are imprisoned and that
death sentences have been pronounced against at least four.
In fact, none of the students have been given due process. And Manuchehr
Mohammadi, a leader of the National Student Organization, and Maryam Shansi,
a student movement sympathizer, have both been tortured and forced to
give televised confessions.
In a move to warn students against pro-democracy activism, on September
23, as students returned to campus for the new academic year, two editors
of the student journal Mowj, Mohammad Reza Namnamat and Hamed Ahangari,
were arrested for publishing an allegedly offensive play. Their whereabouts
and conditions of internment are not known. Especially distressing are
the calls being heard for their execution.
We respectfully urge you, as highly respected officers the United Nations,
guardian of the conscience of the world, to speak out against this dire
Your interventions before it is too late may well save innocent lives
and end the repression of students in Iran. Please act without delay.
Thank you for your consideration. We would appreciate your notifying
us of the action you take.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Co-chair
Paul H. Plotz, Co-chair
Walter Reich, Co-chair