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Amnesty Urges Iran To Reveal Fate Of Student Arrested 21 Years Ago

Iranian Student Protests of July 1999, also known as 18th of Tir. In one the most widespread and violent public protests to occur in Iran since Iranian Revolution, at least 7 people were killed and 200 injured.

Amnesty International has urged Iran to reveal the fate of a student activist who disappeared after being arrested twenty-one years ago.

In a tweet on Thursday Amnesty's Iran Twitter account said the human rights watchdog will stand by the side of the family of Saeed Zeinali whose family has had no success in locating him since his arrest in July 1999.

The 22-year-old computer science student was arrested at home in the presence of his family five days after a student protest was crushed. The three armed agents who arrested him said they were taking him for brief questioning.

Zeinali only contacted his family by phone once very briefly to tell them he was at Evin prison and ask them to follow up his case with the authorities. The family never heard from him again.

Saeed Zeinali's mother, Akram Neqabi, holding a photo of her disappeared son. Tweet by Amnesty international in Persian.

Security forces, plainclothesmen and vigilantes who stormed the campus of Tehran University to quash the protests on July 13, 1999 injured hundreds of students and killed at least 7. The government only accepted one death, that of Ezzat Ebrahimnejad who was shot dead.

More than a thousand students were detained by security forces during and after the protests. One of the students named Akbar Mohammadi who was arrested during the incident passed away under suspicious circumstances seventeen years later.

The family of Zeinali were never given a definite answer by the authorities about Saeed's whereabouts and sixteen years later Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Eje'i said there was no evidence of his arrest and he may have "disappeared". The Zeinali family even once wrote a letter to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about their loved one's case but the letter was returned to them by mail with no reply.

In the past twenty years the authorities have even arrested Saeed's father, his mother and his young sister to pressure the family to stop talking to the media about Saeed's fate.

Akram Neqabi (Neghabi), Saeed's mother, says during her detention Revolutionary Guard interrogators told her to accept that her son had been "martyred" but she has kept asking all these years for his grave to be shown to her if he is really dead.