Summonses, Notices, and Dismissals at Qazvin International University
In the past few months, students at Qazvin International University have faced an increase in sentences of expulsion, permanent deprivation from education, and other disciplinary actions. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has interviewed one of these students about summonses to the University’s Disciplinary Committee and the deprivation of education in the cases of at least nine students. The interviewee, who spoke to the Campaign on the condition of anonymity, also described the continuation of abuse and constant surveillance of students by security forces.
Campaign: When did your student protests begin and what kinds of reactions did you receive from University authorities and security forces?
Our initial student protests began during the gatherings of 16 July 2009. The protests led to a suspension of final exams, but summer holidays did not give authorities a chance to retaliate against students. The confrontation was limited to the arrests of four professors, Dr. Raeesian, Dr. Fazli, Dar Darvishi, and Dr. Imanieh, as well as five students, Payam Heydar Ghazvini, Nasim Riahi, Mojtaba Rahimi, and Siavash Rezaei. The next set of protests were staged by students and professors to free the detained students and faculty members. The detained students were released on heavy bails, which were raised by caring professors. During summer break, the students communicated outside the university and with the start of the new academic year, the protests continued with the same force as in other Iranian universities. Students at Imam Khomeini International University went on hunger strikes and held sit-ins, memorial services, debates, and went on political fasts.
What are the latest round of actions to limit student activities during the recent months?
Farhad Fathi, who is head of the Reformist Organization of the University, was arrested after he issued a statement in support of Dr. Raeesian. He was later released on bail. He was previously arrested on 7 December 2009, and had served time at the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Center. Several students who appealed the Disciplinary Committee’s decisions were informed in writing that the rulings had been reviewed and upheld. All those students have also received a separate ruling by the University’s Security Office which bars them from entering the campus. Arsalan Abadi, a civil engineering student at this university who has been in prison since Ashura (28 December 2009) was exonerated of his moharebeh charges and sentenced to 9.5 years in prison. We also have alarming news of summonses for a large group of students, most of whom are women.
What reasons are provided for the student dismissals and suspensions?
Thirty four students have been summoned to the Disciplinary Committee. There was news that another 74 people would soon be summoned. The University Security Office has spread lies about student activists, claiming they have relations with foreign states, and that they received cash funds from Israel, US, and UK. Most of these student activists were members of the central council of the Imam Khomeini International University Reformist Organization.
How are the summonses and charges handled?
Last September they summoned large groups of student activists to the Qazvin Information Office and interrogated them. his treatment continued into October and beyond. There was a security-police atmosphere at the University in which security organizations were threatening students. The University Security Office treated the students in degrading ways such as contacting their families, especially the families of female students, and using threatening and insulting language, and banning 74 students from student dormitories. They summoned the students and informed them of charges of “creating anarchy and chaos,” “disrupting the University’s public order,” “participation in student riots,” etc.
What impact have the rulings had on morale?
Despite the poisonous atmosphere, students have been defiant. While having witnessed the savage confrontations with University authorities and their close cooperation with intelligence forces, and the presence of plainclothes forces on campus and their friends’ denied access to dormitories, they have vigorously participated in protests and have used every opportunity to show their objection.
The first few rulings did somewhat force the students into silence and oppression. The initial rulings of the Disciplinary Committee, which included a considerable number of dismissal and long-term suspension orders, were the University authorities’ reaction to peaceful student protests. The independent, freedom seeking students and the Central Council of the Reformist Organization were unable to receive permits for conducting various gatherings. But pseudo-student organizations such as the Basij…were easily able to have their gatherings using many resources…”
— News Background and Update —
Students at Qazvin International University faced summons and written notices from the University’s Security Unit and security forces after they staged protests when political figures close to Ahmadinejad’s cabinet made appearances on campus. During the conservative MP Rasaee’s speech in Fall 2009, many students turned their backs on the speaker. Several of these students, such as Melika Amin Toolaki, Mohammad Reza Aghayari, Hamed Honarkhah, and Mahshad Mortazavi were summoned to the Qazvin Province Intelligence Office.
The 4 November 2009 speech by Commander Alireza Afshar, Deputy Minister of Interior, was interrupted by students who shouted “Murderer, get out.” The above-mentioned interviewee told the Campaign that the Acting Chancellor of the University, Dr. Al-e Bouyeh Afshar, subsequently filed a complaint with Qazvin Governor’s Office, asking the Governor to investigate the situation at the University. The Governor assigned a special team to investigate the student activities on campus after consultation with the Intelligence Office. The University Security Unit then engaged in tight cooperation with security and intelligence forces, which led to the interrogation of three students, Payam Heydar Ghazvini, Saeed Sakakian, and Farhad Fathi, and their detention for four days. The students were released to guardians later.
Later, another student Farzam Moeeni was arrested by security forces through the help of the University Security Unit as he tried to exit the campus. He spent 10 days at the Intelligence Office Detention Center, and was released to a guardian. The University Security Office provided interrogators with photographs of protesting students and student records.
The following are names of Qazvin International University students who have been deprived from continuing their education:
1 – Hamed Honarkhah, a last-term psychology student, was dismissed from the University by a verdict from the Appeals Committee while he only had a few more units to finish his education.
2 – Payam Heydari Ghazvini, a student campaigner for presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, and former secretary of the Reformist Student Organization, was dismissed from the University and suspended from studying in any university in Iran for three years. During the previous term, he was suspended for two terms and revocation of his completed years of education. On 16 June 2009 and 7 December 2009, he was arrested for his activities during last year’s post-elections protests. Considering the disciplinary order issued against him by the university, this student, who has already completed his required years of education, in reality has been suspended, expelled, and denied education.
3 – Farzam Moeini, a last-term law student who in the previous term was dismissed from the University by the Disciplinary Committee and suspended for three years from studying in any universities in Iran, received a final order of suspension of education for two terms, and with a repudiation of his completed years of education he was denied education and has been expelled from the University. He was also arrested on 7 December 2009.
4 – Farshid Azarnivesh, a last-term law student who was faced with an initial expulsion from the University, was sentenced to suspension of education for two terms, and has effectively been expelled from the University.
5 – Saeed Sakakian, an accounting student and secretary of the political unit of the Reformist Student Organization was sentenced to a suspension of education for four terms and received a final sentence by the Disciplinary Committee to a suspension of education for two terms and revocation of his completed years of education. Sakakian is another student who was arrested on 7 December 2009.
6 – Farhad Kiashmeshki, a last-term law student, was sentenced to suspension of education for four terms by an initial ruling, and a final sentence of suspension of education for two terms.
7 – Mohammadreza Aghayari, a literature student who was sentenced to suspension of education for three terms by an initial ruling, received a final sentence of suspension of education for two terms.
8 – Danial Karanian, a last-term law student who was suspended from his education for three terms by an initial ruling, received a final sentence of suspension of education for two terms.
9 – Seyed Rouhollah Torabi, an elite student of this university and a graduate mining student, left the university because of the expulsion order he received for participation in student gatherings.