Student Activist Released for Five-Day Furlough After 55 Months in Jail
After 55 months in prison, most of which has been spent in exile, Iranian student activist Zia Nabavi was released on bail of approximately $168,000 for a five-day furlough today, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Zia Nabavi is a former member of the Babol Industrial University Islamic Association, a spokesperson for the Right to Education Council, and a chemical engineering graduate of Babol Industrial University. Despite passing the graduate school entrance exam in sociology with top ranking in 2008, Zia Nabavi became a “starred student,” banned from enrollment and continuing his education. Zia Nabavi was arrested on June 15, 2009, along with several of his friends. The interrogations and the physical and psychological pressure placed on the student activist during the initial 120 days of his arrest were repeatedly protested by human rights activists.
A Tehran Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Pirabassi, sentenced Zia Nabavi to 15 years in prison in exile from his native Tehran, which was later reduced at the appeals level to 10 years. Nabavi was accused of cooperating with the Mojahedi-e Khalq Organization (MEK). He is currently serving his prison term at Karoon Prison in Ahvaz. In a 2011 letter addressed to Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights, Zia Nabavi provided shocking details about the inhumane conditions of Karoon Prison. This led to a change in the conditions of political prisoners in that facility. Zia Nabavi’s January 2013 prison letter about Mohammad Ali Amouri, an Arab activist on death row led to his month-long transfer to solitary confinement.
One of the reasons Zia Nabavi received such a heavy sentence was his alleged “affiliation with the MEK,” despite the fact that no evidence in this area was ever presented to the court, and he had repeatedly rejected such allegations. Zia Nabavi’s father, friends, and his cellmates at Evin Prison all refuted these allegations, and 44 prisoners signed a letter testifying that the charges were unfounded.
Zia Nabavi’s family members are hopeful that judicial officials will extend his five-day furlough.