Six months’ imprisonment for student activist Ashkan Zahabian
Following the court sentences of student activists in Northern Iran universities and the heavy sentence of Seyed Zia Nabavi, student activist Ashkan Zahabian’s sentence was issued. Iran’s Ministry of Information is the plaintiff in Ashkan Zahabian’s case, and Babol Revolutionary Courts have found him guilty and he has been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment on charges of “actions against national security,” “propagation against Islamic Republic regime through disruption in order and security of Islamic Republic of Iran,” “participation in illegal meetings of political and extremist activists at Noshirvani Industrial and Babol Not-for-Profit Universities,” “interviewing with foreign, anti-revolutionary networks and email contact with anti-revolutionary elements,” “inciting students and extremist activists to engage in illegal activities in Mazandaran University.”
After his sentence was issued, several student activists from northern Iran universities went to visit Ashkan Zahabian and he told them: “My sentence was issued in my absence and unfortunately there was no trial session for me. In the court sentencing document, they have claimed that I had not shown up to court. I strongly emphasize that I was never summoned to the court and my attorney was not aware of the summons. One of the other problems with this sentence is that an anonymous individual dropped the sentence document in our neighbor’s home and I received the document through my neighbor. It is unclear for me whether the person serving the verdict was a judicial officer or a mailman. Whoever it was, the server should have asked for a receipt from me or my family, and unfortunately, this was another violation.”
He added: “The next point is that in the investigation session which was held on November 2, 2009 in the presence of Babolsar Prosecutor, I was read the charges of “actions against national security,” and “propagation against the regime through establishment of Islamic societies in Northern Iran,” about which I defended myself by saying that there has never been an organization with such a name, nor has the intention for establishing such an organization ever been announced and no councils or initial boards have been set up for it. In the court verdict, I have been accused of “actions against national security,” and “propagation against the regime through riots and disruption in Mazandaran University’s order and security;” they never read me the charges regarding “email contacts with anti-revolutionary elements.” ”
Regarding his having been found guilty, Zahabian said: “Another point about the court’s ruling is that the indictment presented by the Babolsar General and Revolutionary Courts Prosecutor states that I have “implicitly admitted to the crime,” so they have found me guilty. [Even] after consulting with my lawyer, I could not comprehend this “implicit admission.”
Ashkan Zahabian is a former member of Ferdowsi University Islamic Society and a northern Iran student activist who served some time on these charges in Babol General Prisons and Mazandaran Ministry of Information’s Detention Center in Sari during last summer and fall.