PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/020/2009
11 March 2009
UA 70/09 Fear of torture/ ill treatment / prisoner of conscience
IRAN Esmail Salmanpour (m) ]
Majid Tavakkoli (m) ] members of Amir Kabir University’s
Hossein Torkashvand (m) ] Islamic Students Association (ISA)
Koroush Daneshyar (m) ]
The four students named above have been held without charge or trial since their arrest on 5 February 2009.
They may be held in section 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison, a section under the control of Iran’s Ministry of
Intelligence. Amnesty International fears they are at risk of torture or ill treatment and considers them to be
prisoners of conscience.
The students, all members of Amir Kabir University’s Islamic Students Association (ISA), a student body, had
taken part in a ceremony commemorating the life of Mehdi Bazargan, the first prime minister to be appointed
after the February 1979 revolution. The ceremony is a peaceful gathering which has been held annually for
over a decade. Organisers and participants had publicised the event and had informed the relevant state
authorities, none of whom expressed any objection. However, as the gathering was getting underway, some 20
participants were arrested. Sixteen of them were later released but the four students continue to be detained
and are reported to have started a hunger strike to protest against their arbitrary arrest and conditions of
Majid Tavakkoli, former editor of student journal, Khat-e Sefer was previously detained from May 2007 until
Amnesty International fears that the four students may be tortured or otherwise ill-treated to force them to
‘confess’ to having taken part in the organisation of student demonstrations held on 23 February against the
burial, on the Amir Kabir University campus, of unknown soldiers who died in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
The demonstrations took place more than two weeks after the four were arrested.
In the last three months, Amnesty International has received reports of waves of arbitrary arrests and
harassment, directed particularly against members of Iran's religious and ethnic minority communities,
students, trade unionists and women's rights activists. These measures may be intended to stifle debate and
to silence critics of the authorities in advance of the presidential elections due in June 2009.
More than 70 students were detained on 23 February during a peaceful demonstration at Tehran’s Amir Kabir
University against the government’s burial on the campus of the remains of five soldiers killed during the Iran-
Iraq War, 1980-88. Many of those temporarily detained during the demonstration were reportedly ill-treated.
Others were taken to Police Station 107 at Palestine Square where some were also reported to have been ill-
treated. Female students were said to have been insulted. Most of those detained were released in the hours
following their arrest or next morning.
The burial of the unknown soldiers’ remains on the university campus has widely been interpreted as an
attempt by the state authorities to exercise greater control over students opposed to their policies. Such
burials of soldiers, who are deemed martyrs on account of their sacrifice in fighting against Iraqi forces, might