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Iranian Student Groups Challenge Intelligence Minister To A Debate On Torture

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmud Alavi attends a public funeral ceremony for those killed during an attack on a military parade on the weekend, in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz, September 24, 2018. File photo

The complaint of a labor activist that he was tortured in prison have led to members of parliament pursuing the case and student groups demanding a debate with Iran's intelligence minister.

Esmail Bakhshi a labor leader in the largest Iranian sugar mill at Haft Tapeh in southwestern Iran was arrested November 18, 2018 during weeks-long labor protests at the sugar mill and released in December. At the time, labor rights groups raised alarm that Bakhshi had been badly tortured in detention.

On January 4, Bakhshi wrote a post on his Instagram page accusing the authorities of torture, asking Iran’s intelligence minister to debate him as to why torture takes place in the Islamic Republic.

The reformist Omid (Hope) faction in parliament is planning to have a meeting with officials of the intelligence minister and ask for a report about Bakhsi's complaint, according to its spokesperson, Fatemeh Saeedi.

Mohammad Kazemi, a member of parliament’s judicial commission, also demanded that Bakhshi’s claim about torture should be investigated by parliament.

Meanwhile, 34 student organizations from various Iranian universities in a letter to the intelligence minister have asked for a debate and have voiced readiness to host the event.

The governor of the Khuzestan province where Bakhshi was arrested has denied the torture accusation and said the authorities have “documents” proving otherwise.