Mass Arrest of Student Activists Coincide with the Anniversary of 1999 Student Protests

Monday 14 July 2008

Change for Equality: According to news reports, recent mass arrest of student activists include some students who are also active in the One Million Signatures Campaign. Some of those arrested in the past few days include: Bahareh Hedayat, Mohammad Hashemi, Ashkan Arshian, Ali Gholizadeh, Ali Saberi; Mehdi Ghodsi and Reza Arab.

Though these arrests are unrelated to their activities in the Campaign, Bahareh Hedayat in Tehran, Ashkan Arshian, Ali Gholizadeh, and Mehdi Ghodsi in Mashad are active members of the One Million Signatures Campaign.

According to reports published by the Student Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Bahareh Hedayat, member of the Central Council of the National Office to Foster Unity, a student organization was arrested on Sunday morning at 8:00 am by security officials at her home. Bahareh Hedayat is also a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign. Prior to Bahareh’s arrest at 7:00am on the same morning, Mohammad Hashemi, also a member of the Central Council of the National Office to Foster Unity was arrested at his home by security officials. Bahareh and Mohammad had both been arrested last year along with other members of the Central Council during a sit-in protest in front of Amir Kabir University. They were protesting the increased pressures on student activists on the anniversary of 18th of Tir (July 9, 1999)—the mass protest by university students which ended in violence. Bahareh had previously been sentenced to 2 years suspended prison term in relation to her arrest in Haft-e Tir Square on the 12th of June, 2006, during a protest objecting to discriminatory laws against women.

According to reports provided by the website of the Campaign in Mashad a number of student activists in Islamic organizations in the eastern part of the country were arrested on Monday July 7, 2008, after security officials stormed their meetings. Afterwards, security officials searched the homes of some of these students and seized their personal properties, such as computers and CDs, among other items.

Thus far, based on information provided, the names of 5 persons who had been arrested have been made available. They include: Ashkan Arshian (former member of Islamic Student Organization of Ferdowsi University); Ali Gholizadeh (Shahroud University); Ali Saberi (member of Amir Kabir University); Mehdi Ghodsi (Ferdowsi University); and Reza Arab (Mazandaran University). While these arrests took place close to the anniversary of 18th of Tir (July 9, 1999) student protest, the meetings during which these students were arrested on Monday were reportedly unrelated to the anniversary of the 18th of Tir.


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