Mazandaran University Activist Summoned to Prison
An informed source in Babol told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that police and security forces attempted to arrest student activist Ashkan Zahabian at his home in Mazandaran on Tuesday without a warrant. The source told the Campaign that the forces attempting to arrest Zahadian told his family that he must surrender himself at Babol’s Police Headquarters.
Zahabian is a member of the General Council of Tahkim Vahdat Student Union, a student activist in Mazandaran, and a former member of the Central Council of the Islamic Association of Ferdowsi University and Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. He was arrested during post-election protests on 13 December 2009 after being beaten by forces known as “Ansar” and was held in solitary confinement for a month in Sari and Babol’s Mati Kola Intelligence Office prisons. He was arrested and spent time in prison for a second time on the charge of “acting against national security through the formation of Islamic Associations of Northern Iran”.
“The Implementation Unit of Babol’s Judiciary did not serve any summons for Zahabian to begin his six-month prison sentence. The sentence had been upheld in September by the Mazandaran Province Appeals Court. This kind of summons and moves to arrest a political activist to begin serving their prison sentence is unusual,” the informed source said.
As stipulated by the law, summonses or court notices must be served in writing and in person, but increasingly summonses are being served by phone calls or verbally. This has become a common trend in the Judiciary and no regulatory body in the country has taken any action against these illegal practices.
In order to enforce a criminal conviction sentence, defendants must surrender themselves to Implementation Units upon being served their sentences, but the officials who were planning to arrest Zahabian said that he must surrender himself to the City of Babol’s Police Headquarters.
In recent months, security and judiciary organizations have increased their pressure on student activists and members of the Tahkim Vahdat Student Union. Five members of the student organization have been arrested in recent months by security and intelligence agencies.
Last February, Zahabian’s trial was held in Babol’s Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Rezaian, without the presence of the accused, leading to the issuance of a six-month prison sentence for him.
Ashkan Zahabian was previously expelled from Ferdowsi University after being suspended for two years for his activism; he was twenty academic units shy of completing his bachelor’s degree.