Jan. 23, 2008
1- The following quotation is just the opening section of what you can read about the death of Ebrahim Lotfollaahi, student in Sanadaj, Kurdistan, Iran, in Human Rights Watch site (http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/01/18/iran17819.htm). As you can read below, it’s not yet known what charges were brought against Ebrahim:
Ebrahim Lotfallahi, 27, died in the detention center in Sanandaj sometime between January 9 and January 15.
Zahra Bani-Ameri, a 27-year-old female physician, died in October while in custody in the town of Hamedan. In both cases, officials claimed the cause of death was suicide... On October 12, 2007, police and security forces arrested Bani-Ameri and her fiancé in a public park in the city of Hamedan on charges of having an “illegal relationship.” According to Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, “immoral” relationships between men and women who are not married may be subject to criminal punishment.
“The sudden death in detention of two apparently healthy young people is extremely alarming,” said Joe Stork, Middle East deputy director at Human Rights Watch. “The government only heightens our concern by quickly dismissing them as suicides.”
Security forces arrested Lotfallahi on January 6, 2008 as he was leaving the Sanandaj campus of Payam Noor University. Lotfallahi’s family does not know what charges, if any, the authorities had brought against him. Three days after his arrest, Lotfallahi’s family visited him in the Sanandaj detention center. His brother told Human Rights Watch that Lotfallahi was in good spirits and seemed
fine at the time of the visit.
On January 15, officials from the detention center contacted Lotfallahi’s parents and informed them that they had buried their son in a local cemetery. The officials claimed that Lotfallahi had committed suicide in his cell.
2- The number of the jailed students keeps changing. Out of the original 47 students, 16 were supposed to be released after a couple of weeks, but then the authorities at the Ministry of Intelligence opposed the judiciary decision and did not let the order be implemented.
3- On the night of Jan. 22, another group of 10 students were arrested. In total, after 53 days of detention, only 6 have been released on bail. It is, therefore, safe to say that the current number of detainees is around 50 at this moment.
4- The names of the 10 recently arrested students are as follows: Soroosh Dashtestaani; Amin Ghazaa’i; Bijan Saabaagh; Aanaahita Hoseini (female); Morteza Khedmatloo; Mohammad Poorabdollaah; Bita Samimi (female); Behzaad Bagheri; Soroosh Saabet; Mortezaa Eslaahchi. After a week in detention, only two of them, Bijan Sabbaagh and Soroosh Dashtestaani, were allowed a phone call home. On Jan. 22, their families could only get them some money and clothing items through the prison authorities.
5- As for the charges brought against the students, the students’ lawyer, Naser Zarafshaan, said in an interview with Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany), ‘the charge is the same 70-year-old, ambiguous cliché of “acting against national security” that has been there ever since the beginning of the reign of Reza Shah [the last depose Shah’s father], which has never even been concretely defined.’ On this point, we call your attention to the 51-page long report by Human Rights Watch, dated Jan. 1, 2008, entitled You Can Detain Anyone for Anything; Iran’s Broadening Clampdown on Independent Activism, available in English and Farsi on the organizations site: http://hrw.org/reports/2008/iran0108/
6- Setting extortionate bails for the temporary release of students is still underway. One of the student detainees, Behrooz Safshekan, was released on a bail of $150,000. On Jan. 20th, three students were released on bails of $80.000, $30,000, and $50,000. Ilnaaz Jamshidi, a female student activist, was released on a bail of $100,000 on Jan.22, after more than 50 days in detention. On Jan. 23, Milaad Omraani was released on a bail of $100,000. The family of Nasim Soltaanbeygi has stated that they cannot afford the $50,000 bail for the release of their daughter.
7- The students’ lawyer, Naser Zarafshaan, told VOG reporter that such ridiculous bails are demanded of students, whose only ‘crime’ is criticizing the government, ‘in a country where a murderer can pay the family of the deceased the sum of only $33,000 as blood money and be home free!’
8- Two students, Sa’id Habibi and Sohrab Karimi, who have been in detention for over 50 days have not yet been allowed to even call their parents.
9- Naader Ahsaani was supposed to meet with his family yesterday, Jan. 22, but, as reported by the student site Voice of University (VOA)
(http://avayedaneshgah1.blogfa.com/8611.aspx) his sister, while obviously concerned about her brother’s situation, said, ‘we went to Evin again today. But, his name was not in the list of those allowed visitation. We objected, saying that we are in total dark as far as his condition. The answer we got from the officers was, ‘he’s resisted his interrogator. That’s why he’s been denied the right to meet with or call his family.’
10- As for the charges brought against the students, the students’ lawyer, Naser Zarafshaan, said in the above-mentioned interview, ‘the charge is the same 70-year-old, undefined cliché of “acting against national security” that has been there ever since the beginning of the reign of Reza Shah [the last depose Shah’s father].’
11- Security forces dispersed the crowds participating in Ebrahim Lotfollaahi’s memorial (see 1 above), organized by activists, especially student activists, in Sanandaj. It was planned to be held on Monday, Jan. 21, 2008.
A very significant point to be added is that in this year’s protest actions of socialist student on Students’ Day female students took part on an unprecedented scale, several of whom as organizers, speakers, as a result of which several of them are among the detainees.