Pressure on Student Leaders for Confessions and Dissolution of Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat
While four members of the central committee overseeing the nationwide student organization, Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat (The Office for Strengthening Unity), continue to remain in prison, several of their members and close associates told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that security authorities have increased pressure on these students over the past few days to resign from their activities within the organization. Members of the central committee have been told to announce the organization “dissolved.” One of these sources told the Campaign: “They have been told that Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat is an illegal organization and hence they are not authorized to organize any congregations or to issue political statements.
This was also expressed in the earlier warnings, prior to the arrests of central committee members, by security authorities. In response to this threat and illegal demand, the central committee members had said that the Ministry of Science’s policy regarding Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat is illegal and not the organization’s activities. After the security authorities request was declined, members of the central committee and other affiliated members were arrested.
Another individual who was interviewed by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran expressed that according to one of the students who were recently released, pressure for obtaining confessions to dissolve Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat continues. He has also said that the aforementioned individuals are all detained in solitary cells inside the Ministry of Intelligence’s ward 209 at Evin prison.
An individual close to the central committee of Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat told the Campaign:
“Right now, four central committee members and tens of organization members remain in the regime’s detention centers all over the country. Four members of the central committee, Mehdi Arabshahi, Morteza Simyari, Milad Asadi and Bahareh Hedayat are imprisoned at Evin prison’s ward 209. Security Forces have put pressure on the students to announce the organization illegal. Previously, when the members were summoned and interrogated, they were told that they could no longer be active in Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat. These events and illegal pressures take place while Article 26 of Islamic Republic of Iran’s constitution states that Islamic organizations and parties are free to operate and no one and no organization can force them to participate or to bar their participation in such organizations. Based on Iran’s international commitments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its related conventions, and other laws which the Iranian government has made a commitment to implement, political activities in student organizations are legal. Mr. Samyari was transferred from solitary confinement to a general ward after ten days, and it is not clear why he was moved from the general ward back to solitary confinement under pressure for confessions. He, Mr. Arabshahi, and Ms. Hedayat are under severe interrogation to announce that they are no longer active with Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat. All of these actions on the part of security organizations is against Iran’s commitments.”
Pressure from security organizations to shut down Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat is only the latest incident of the government shutting down a civil society organization. In the past four years, the government has systemically been closing independent civil society organizations, including Iran’s Journalists Association and Defenders of Human Rights Center.
“Daftar-e-Tahkim-e-Vahdat,” or The Office for Strengthening Unity (also Office for Consolidating Unity), is an Iranian student organization created in 1979, and has been described as “the country’s nation-wide and most well-known student organization, and one of the most influential “Iran’s leading pro-democracy student groups.”