Prison for three university students who led anti-government protests

The students will serve sentences ranging from two to six years in prison. They are charged with propaganda against the regime, an attempt on national security and undermining public security. At least a hundred students arrested following the demonstrations. Nobel Laureates condemn preventive detentions.

Teheran (AsiaNews / Agencies) – An Islaimic Revolutionary court has sentenced three Iranian students on charges of propaganda against the regime, acting against national security, and disturbing peace and public order through participation in unlawful assemblies.

The three were arrested earlier this year during anti-government protests which inflamed the streets of the capital and other cities of the country.

Leila Hosseinzadeh, a student of anthropology at the University of Tehran, has been sentenced to six years in prison and cannot leave the country for two years. Sina Rabeiei, who studies social sciences at the same university will have to serve a year in prison and has a two year travel ban. Mohsen Haghshenas, a theater and drama student in the capital, was sentenced to two years in prison.

According to data provided by the Iranian intelligence ministry, the protests that broke out on 28 December 2017 led to the arrest of over one hundred students from Tehran University. Two parliamentarians close to the reformist wing, Farid Mousavi and Mahmoud Sadeghi, explained that most of the young people were detained on the basis of "preventive measures".

However, prominent lawyers including Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Nasrin Sotoudeh have pointed out that the Iranian Penal Code does not allow for preventive detention. The courts of the country would have opened at least fifty proceedings against students involved in various capacities in the demonstrations; the arrest of students continued even after the end of the protests.

Young people and workers took to the streets between the end of December and the first days of January to denounce theocratic dictatorship, poverty, corruption and unemployment. In the context of the uprising, 22 people died, at least 5 thousand of those arrested.  These included Parisa Rafeiei, an art student; according to her father, the young woman was taken last February 25 by the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) and there has been no news of her since.

A student activist told Radio Farda that many university students had received warnings before the protests, in which they were asked not to feed "radical requests". However, young people have intensified their criticism of the government and religious authorities, demanding respect for civil rights.