As protests continue in Iran, the number of students detained in recent days in Iran has reportedly risen to more than 43, according to student activists and members of student councils.
At least fourteen more students were arrested immediately after the publication of a letter and a statement by the Councils of the Students Union, demanding the release of all students placed behind bars during the recent anti-regime protests.
The news about the new arrests came from the student council of Tehran University and the Free Labor Union of Iran.
In the letter addressed to the Minister of Science, Research and Technology (MSRT), Mansour Gholami and circulated on social media, most of the Councils have bitterly criticized heavy handed reaction of security forces to the peaceful demonstrations.
The security forces, the letter has maintained, “arrested several students’ rights activists outside protest gatherings and charged them with unfounded and imaginary accusations”.
Referring to Article 12 of Students’ Rights Charter that legally allows the students to freely hold peaceful and non-violent assemblies, the Councils have insisted that many of the arrested students had no connection with the protest rallies.
The Councils have also reiterated that as MSRT is responsible for the safety of the students, it should act to help release all the detainees without any condition and commit itself to stop further arrests.
Meanwhile, the letter has presented a list of the students arrested in recent days.
“While hundreds of students in Tehran University joined the oppressed and echoed their rightful demands, chanting the slogan 'Bread, Jobs, Freedom' all over Iran, several people affiliated with factions of power tried to undermine the historic solidarity between students and the people by opportunistic and fake labeling of the independent Councils of the Students’ Unions."
Earlier, Iran Students News Agency, semi-official ISNA news agency had cited Mansour Gholami as saying that “a number” of detained students had already been freed.
However, Gholami also said that his ministry has not received reports concerning the students detained outside the universities.
According to Interior Ministry officials, 90% of the people arrested in recent uprising and protests are 25-year old or younger.