Date: 15 March 2010
STUDENT ACTIVIST DETAINED WITHOUT CHARGE
Milad Asadi sits on the Central Committee of the OCU. At least three other members of the Central Committee of the OCU are
currently in detention. They are Mehdi Arabshahi, who is the Secretary of the OCU, arrested on 27 December 2009 - the
religious festival of Ashoura - when mass demonstrations against the government took place; Behareh Hedayat, who is also the
Chair of the Women’s Committee of the OCU, arrested on 31 December 2009, and Amin Nazari, also chair of the OCU Human
Rights Committee, arrested on 27 February 2010. Another member, Morteza Samyari, was sentenced to six years in prison on
18 February for “propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding with the intent of harming state security”, but
was subsequently released on bail pending an appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Amnesty International has previously taken action on behalf of Mehdi Arabshahi and Bahareh Hedayat during an earlier detention
(See Urgent Action, (Index: MDE 13/095/2007), 27 July 2007, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/095/2007)
24-year-old Morteza Samyari, arrested on 4 January 2010, appeared in a mass “show trial” of 16 persons on 30 January 2010.
All were accused of involvement in orchestrating the Ashoura protests. He was sentenced on 18 February 2010 to one year in
prison on the charge of propaganda against the system and a five-year prison sentence on the charge of “gathering and colluding
with the intent to act against national security”, apparently in connection with a proposed meeting with EU representatives
which never took place. He was released on bail of 500 million rials (approx US$500,000) and a guarantee of a further 100
millions rials (approx US$100,000) on 7 March 2010, pending an appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Since the disputed presidential election in June 2009, over 5,000 people have been arrested, including over 1,000 during and
following the mass demonstrations on Ashoura on 27 December. Those detained include political figures and political activists,
students, human rights defenders and journalists. Many have been tried in grossly unfair trials, resulting in long prison term
sentences and some sentences of flogging. At least 13 individuals have been sentenced to death, of whom two have been
executed and three have had their sentences commuted to prison terms. Those known to be on death row include Ahmad Karimi
and Amir Reza Arefi, convicted of “moharebeh” (enmity against God) for alleged membership of the Anjoman-e Padashahi Iran, a
group which advocates the restoration of a monarchy in Iran, and five unnamed individuals (two women and three men) said to
have been tried and convicted in January 2010 of “moharebeh” for alleged membership of the People’s Mojahedin Organization
of Iran and organizing the Ashoura demonstrations. 20-year old Damghan university student Mohammad Amin Valian has also
been sentenced to death, although his appeal has not yet been heard. He was one of five people charged with “moharebeh”
during the trial of 16 in which Morteza Samyari was also tried. Video footage of him throwing stones during the Ashoura
demonstrations was shown in court and was used as evidence to convict him of “moharebeh”.
"Moharebeh" is a vaguely worded criminal offence in Iranian law, usually applied to those who take up arms against the state. It
can carry the death sentence.
The Iranian authorities are continuing to severely restrict freedom of expression in Iran, arresting journalists and human rights
activists (of whom scores are believed to remain in detention), imposing restrictions on the use of the internet, including social
networking sites, and shutting down newspapers. A renewed campaign of arrests of human rights activists began in early March
2010 (see UA 50/10, 12 March 2010,(Index: MDE 13/029/2010)).
For further information please see Iran: Election Contested, Repression Compounded, December 2009, (Index MDE
UA: 62/10 Index: MDE 13/032/2010 Issue Date: 15 March 2010