Monday, August 20, 2007

Mother accuses Iran of torturing students

France24:A mother of one of the three Iranian students still held in jail after an incident in May on Monday publicly accused the authorities of torturing the young men to obtain confessions.
Azam Tajik, mother of Ehsan Mansouri, a student detained for the past four months on suspicion of publishing material offensive to Islam in university newspapers, said her son had been held in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison.

"Our children were forced to confess in prison under torture," she told a news conference on freedom of speech held by Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. "When they left solitary confinement they rejected the statements they had given."

The Iranian judiciary has vehemently denied that any accused are tortured in its prisons although it has said the Tehran judiciary is preparing a report about the families' claims.
Mansouri was arrested in May with Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghassaban over the appearance of "anti-Islamic" material and caricatures in reformist student newspapers at Tehran's prestigious Amir Kabir University.

"Our children denied and condemned it, but everyone from the university to security officials said they have committed an offence," Tajik said.

"Who has proven their guilt? In front of which lawyer? Under torture and in solitary confinement?" the distraught mother said.
"They beat up my son when they took him from home to jail, his nose was bleeding all along, they told us we were lying and that we should stop giving interviews," Tajik said.
The students said the material been planted in a plot to discredit them.
Amir Kabir has long been a hotbed of student radicalism and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was last year the target of heckling in a stormy address to the university.
Ebadi defended the jailed students, saying they were detained because they did not have freedom of expression.
"Had the students taken up arms against people? We have always faced this problem that they went to prison because they were not free to express themselves," the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner said.
"This principle is forgotten that the dissidents should be free to talk, the supporters of the government have always been free to sing praises to the rulers anyway," Ebadi said.

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