Four Student Activists Transferred To Evin: Student Union Crackdown Intensifies
An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in an interview that four members of the Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat student organization arrested in recent days, Ali Gholizadeh, Mohsen Barzegar, Alireza Kiani, and Mohammad Heydarzadeh, have been transferred to Evin prison. All four are students at university. The source told the Campaign that the prosecutor in Babol told Barzegar and Kiani’s families that they were arrested based on cases launched against them by judicial authorities in Tehran. Another source in Mashad quoted Ali Gholizadeh’s family saying that he was being transferred to Evin prison in Tehran.
The arrest of another four members of Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat, a student organization pronounced “illegal” by Iran’s Ministry of Science and Ministry of Intelligence, marks a new phase of crackdowns on student activists. Raja News, a website close to security and judicial circles, said in a 31 October report titled “The movements of the team were related with the MEK for reviving the Allameh group in a new cover,” emphasized the student group’s “illegal” status, waging several charges against the student activists. The sources for such reports are unknown. In the past, similar articles have appeared and in their wake, a marked rise in the arrests of student and political activists has occurred. Raja News claimed that two members of the organization are connected to Pjak and MEK groups and that the students received funds from the organizations. In its report Raja News claimed that several “low grade activists of certain universities” have been “deceived” in order to “create a new group which would follow the interests of the terrorist group MEK, under the guise of a student organization named ‘Allameh Group.'”
“Compared to other groups, the pressure on Tahkim-e Vahdat’s General and Central Council members has been immense and mounting daily over the past few years. It shows the regime is hard at work to eliminate the nationwide student organization in different ways,” a member of Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat told the Campaign regarding the recent arrests of their members.
“But arresting members of Tahkim-e Vahdat on the threshold of 7 December and after the organization’s renewed efforts show that security forces have no intention of compromising with organizations that seek freedom, democracy, and human rights,” he added.
“The new gathering of Tahkim-e Vahdat was held under dangerous and suppressive circumstances. Security forces acted quickly to arrest selected members,” said the Tahkim-e Vahdat member who requested anonymity. “It seems the arrests and crackdown on different layers of student movement is intensifying as we get closer to Student Day (7 December), and in order to achieve maximum suppression, the universities would implement scenarios implemented by security forces,” he added.
According to student sources who have spoken with the Campaign, Raja News’ report is the basis for the Ministry of Information’s crackdown on Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat activists. According to the source, the recent arrests do not appear accidental and are a continuation of the scenario described by Raja News. Last Friday, Ali Gholizadeh, Secretary of Shahroud Islamic Council was arrested by security forces at his father’s home in Mashad. Alireza Kiani, Political Secretary of Mazandaran University’s Islamic Council was arrested in Babolsar by several anonymous and armed forces. Mohsen Barzegar, who had gone to Babol’s Mati Kolai Prison to provide documents for his case file, was arrested after leaving the Prison and driven away in a police vehicle. Mohammad Heydarzadeh, another member of Tahkim-e Vahdat who had been summoned to Shahr-e Kord’s Intelligence Office, was arrested after he appeared.
After news of the arrests of three other Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat activists was published, the group’s Public Affairs branch issued a statement condemning arrests of its active members. “The Tahkim-e Vahdat Organization condemns the arrests of Mr. Ali Gholizadeh, Alireza Kiani, Mohsen Barzegar, and Mohammad Heydarzadeh, and demands the release of these student activists and other imprisoned students. Tahkim-e Vahdat remains resolute and determined to continue its honorable path forward,” the statement said.