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Three Iranian Students Arrested During Protests Sentenced To Prison

University students attend a protest inside Tehran University while anti-riot Iranian police prevent them to join other protests. December 30, 2017.
University students attend a protest inside Tehran University while anti-riot Iranian police prevent them to join other protests. December 30, 2017.

Three Iranian students who were detained during the widespread protests earlier this year have been sentenced to nine years in prison by the Revolutionary Courts.

Leila Hosseinzadeh, a student of anthropology at Tehran University, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and prohibited from leaving Iran for two years, the Trade Councils of Iranian Students reported on its Telegram channel.

Based on the same report, Sina Rabeiei, a social sciences student at Tehran University, was sentenced to a year in prison and a two-year ban on leaving the country. Mohsen Haghshenas, a Tehran University theater student, was sentenced to two years’ incarceration.

The students were all charged with propaganda against the regime, acting against national security, and disturbing peace and public order through participation in unlawful assemblies.

Immediately after the protests broke out on December 28, 2017, the Intelligence Ministry detained more than 100 students mainly affiliated with Tehran University.

Two pro-reformist representatives of Tehran in parliament, Farid Mousavi and Mahmoud Sadeghi, said at the time that most of those students were detained as a “preventive measure.”

Nevertheless, prominent lawyers including Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi and Nasrin Sotoudeh immediately noted that Iran’s criminal code does not allow the authorities to arrest people solely on the grounds of preventive measures.

However, Sadeghi said on March 2 that lawsuits against nearly 50 students had been filed.

Two days earlier, 22 students’ associations of Tehran University had warned that several students had been summoned to court again and were facing serious charges.

Furthermore, 1,500 students of Tehran University and the School of Medical Sciences issued a statement insisting they would remain “sensitive” against “any possible imprisonment, deprivation and trouble” awaiting the students.

The detention of students continued even after the protests against dictatorship, corruption, poverty, and unemployment, died down in January.

Parisa Rafeiei, a student in Tehran University’s School of Fine Arts, was arrested on February 25 and has not been released.

According to Rafeiei’s father, she was arrested by intelligence agents from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and her whereabouts are still unknown.

Marzieh Amiri, a student of social sciences at Tehran University, has also been detained since March 8 and along with several other female detainees was transferred to the general ward of Qarchak Prison.

At least 22 people were killed and up to 5,000 arrested between December 28, 2017, when the protests began in the city of Mashhad, and first week of January.

New York based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reported, “Officials have avoided blaming security forces for the deaths, but anti-riot police and the semi-official Basij volunteer militia force, which operates under the control of the IRGC, have been instructed to quell the protests.”

A student activist told Radio Farda that many students had received warnings prior to the protests not to voice “radical demands.” Student activists intensified their criticism of government policies and also demanded the authorities respect their collective rights.