Lawyer Says No Evidence To Support Harsh Sentence For Student
Student activist Zia Nabavi’s lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that despite her client’s denial of relations with the Mojahedin Khalgh Organization (MEK) and a lack of evidence in this regard, the appeals court upheld his ten-year imprisonment and Nabavi was ordered to be exiled to the southern city of Eezeh to begin his sentence.
Seyed Zia Nabavi is a student at Noshirvani Industrial University of Babol. He was unable to enter graduate school because of the educational policies of the Ahmadinejad administration, even though he passed the graduate school entrance exam with the highest grade. Nabavi was arrested on 15 June 2009 and continues to remain in Ward 350 of Evin Prison. Since his arrest, he has spent 98 days in solitary confinement in Wards 209 and 240, which are managed by the Ministry of Intelligence. Nabavi is a member of the Council to Defend the Right to Education. He was charged with participating in protest gatherings in defense of those rights. He was also charged with cooperation with the MEK, as well as cooperating with a reformist candidate’s elections campaign.
Nasrin Sotoudeh told the Campaign that Nabavi told his interrogators almost 15 times that he has no connection or contact with the MEK and that he does not support the organization.
In an open letter written from prison, Nabavi told the Prosecutor that he will accept any punishment relating to his activities with the Council to Defend the Right to Education. But, in regard to the other charges relating to support for MEK, he absolutely does not believe in this organization and he did not have any kind of activities with this group, and that he will not accept any of those charges.
“But in the appeals court, despite all documents, evidence, and testimonials, Nabavi was acquitted from all other charges except for the charge of moharebeh, enmity with God, and support for the Mojahedin. He was found to deserve ten years in exile. This court ruling is not in line with the charges brought against him and the documents in his case file. This gifted Iranian student has to endure such heavy punishment due to his distant relatives’ association with MEK, and also due to objecting to his and his classmates’ dismissal from education. He has to enter prison at the age of twenty-two and leave it at the age of thirty-two,” added Sotoudeh.
According to the issued sentence, Nabavi will be transferred to the city of Eezeh in Southern Iran. Nabavi’s physical and mental condition have been reported as unfavorable in the last few weeks.