Eight Students Rapped For Insulting Khatami
April 20, 2005
TEHRAN -- Eight students have been handed suspended prison terms for insulting President Mohammad Khatami and acting against Iran's national security, a leading reformist student union member said yesterday.
"Four students from Sistan-Baluchistan (in southeast Iran) received suspended prison terms of a year each," said Abdollah Momeni, head of the Office of Consolidating Unity (OCU), said.
"Another four students from Tabriz Sahand University (northwest Iran) received a collective suspended prison term of 99 months and are barred from studying for a year," said Momeni.
He did not give details on the charges.
"As of a month ago we have been witnessing additional pressure on universities, which creates a very heavy political climate before the presidential election" of June 17, he said.
An Iranian newspaper, meanwhile, reported that another OCU member, Saeed Habibi, had been arrested.
He was "summoned to court in Zanjan after his speech at the city's university (on December 7) and charged with disturbing public mind, acting against national security, and agitating for regime change," his wife, Parvaneh Vahid-Manesh, said in the reformist daily Shargh.
"I have not heard anything from him since his last trip to Zanjan" in central Iran, she added.
Iranian university students, who are at the forefront of political protests, played a key role in Khatami's election victories in 1997 and 2001, and also when reformists won parliamentary polls in 2000.
But they have become disillusioned and embittered by a lack of reforms in the Islamic republic amid stiff resistance from the conservative camp.
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Seventeen-year-old Rasoul Mohammadi is reportedly due to be executed on 16 April. Iran has ratified international treaties that prohibit it from executing anyone for crimes committed when they were under 18. His father, Mousa Ali Mohammadi, is due to be executed at the same time. Each is to receive 74 lashes before he is put to death.
According to 11 April reports in the Persian-language newspaper Iran, the Assistant Public Prosecutor for the Office of Sentence Implementation (in Persian, Daftar-e Ejra’-e Ahkam) has announced to the press that Mousa Ali Mohammed will be publicly hanged in 24 Metri Street in Esfahan at 6.30am on 16 April, and his son will be hanged at the same time, in Esfahan Central Prison.
Rasoul Mohammadi and his father had been found guilty by a court in the city of Esfahan of abducting 40 young girls, stealing their jewellery and raping at least four of them. They apparently confessed to the charges during interrogation.
The sentence has been upheld by the Supreme Court, and Rasoul Mohammadi and his father are now in the custody of Esfahan General Court, which will carry out the sentence. According to the report in Iran, because of "complaints" by the accused, the case has been again referred to the Supreme Court. The report gives no further details of this process.
Rasoul Mohammadi’s parents divorced when he was one year old, and he went to live with his grandmother. When he was four years old he was sent to a children’s home, where he lived for several years before being returned to the custody of his father.
As a state party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were under the age of 18.
Nevertheless, 11 child offenders have been executed in Iran since 1990. On 20 January 2005 Iman Farokhi was executed for a crime committed when he was 17 years old. On the same day an Iranian governmental delegation claimed that Iran does not execute people under the age of 18, in a declaration to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The Committee, which monitors states' implementation of the CRC, urged Iran to immediately stay all executions of people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18, and abolish the use of the death penalty in such cases. The Committee said that it "deplored" the fact that Iran had continued to carry out such executions even after it ratified the CRC, including the execution that had taken place that day.
For the last three years, the Iranian authorities have been considering legislation that would prohibit the use of the death penalty for offences committed under the age of 18.
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