Human Rights Watch
May 5, 2012.
Iranian authorities should immediately free dozens of university students currently behind bars solely for peacefully expressing political opinions, and end harassment of student activists on university campuses throughout the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch issued the call as part of a joint campaign initiated by Iranian and international student and rights groups to highlight the government’s systematic crackdown against university students for their political activism.
The campaign has called for the unconditional and immediate release of the 32 students in prison on various national security-related charges. Authorities rounded up many of these students after the disputed June 2009 presidential election, and revolutionary courts convicted and sentenced them on charges such as “propaganda against the system,” “participating in illegal gatherings,” and “insulting the president.” Therefore all were convicted specifically for exercising their rights under international law to freedom of speech, of association, and of peaceful assembly. Security, intelligence, and university officials have disciplined, suspended, or expelled hundreds of other students who criticized the government during the past few years.