Iran Human Rights (IHR)- It has been a year since two elite Sharif University students were arrested. After two months in solitary confinement, they were transferred to Ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence.
Given the Islamic Republic’s track record of obtaining false confessions under torture, Iran Human Rights warns of impending heavy sentences and televised confessions.
Iran Human Rights Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “Over the past year, Ali Younesi and Amirhossein Moradi have been under the most intense pressure to force false confessions and have not had access to lawyers of their choice. The allegations made against them by the judiciary have been fabricated by the security institutions and have no legal basis. We are worried that they will be forced to make false confessions through duress and torture, which can be used as the basis of heavy sentences against them.”
Expressing grave concern about the situation of Ali Younesi and Amirhossein Moradi, Iran Human Rights considers the duress and ill-treatment of the two students to be a security plan aimed at laying the groundwork for the suppression and intimidation of the student movement.
Ali Younesi, a computer engineering student at Sharif University of Technology, and Amir Hossein Moradi, a physics student at the university, were arrested without a legal summons on 10 April 2020 and were held in solitary confinement for two months before being transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence’s (MOIS) Ward 209 in Evin Prison.
One year after their arrests, Ali and Amirhossein have still not been allowed to meet or speak with their lawyers and have been kept behind bars without an official charge or trial. IHR condemns their treatment which is illegal even under the Islamic Republic’s own laws and calls for the immediate release of the two imprisoned students, access to their lawyers and due process and a fair trial in their case, irrespective of any charges by interrogators and confessions that may be extracted from them under pressure.
Ali’s brother, Reza Younesi had previously said: “Ali was brought home by 12 plainclothes security officers. The agents severely beat him, he had blood on his face, head injuries and had been physically assaulted. The officers ransacked the whole house and took all the mobile phones, computers and my father’s car.”
On 5 May 2020, Gholamhossein Esmaeili, the spokeperson for the Islamic Republic’s judiciary accused Ali and Amirhossein of having links with dissident groups and being in possession of “explosive devices.” Their families have vehemently denied such claims.
Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gholamhossein Esmaili, said the two students “wanted to create a catastrophic situation during Corona, which was thwarted by the vigilance of security forces.”
At the time, Ali’s sister, Aida Younesi, reacted to the judiciary’s charges in a Twitter message. She called all the allegations “ridiculous” and said it was unclear what had happened to her brother in the past 26 days.
While at high school, Ali Younesi won silver and gold at the National Astronomy Olympiad in 2016 and 2017 respectively. In his senior year of high school, he won the gold medal with the Iranian national team at the 2018 World Astronomy Olympiad in China. At the time of his arrest, he was studying computer science at Sharif University of Technology. Amir Hossein Moradi, who is a student of physics at the same university, also won silver at the 2017 Iranian Astronomy Olympiad.
It should be noted that the Iranian security services have a history making false allegations and forcing false confessions under duress. In one case, Maziar Ebrahimi, an Iranian citizen, was arrested on charges of involvement in the assassination of nuclear scientists in 2012 by the Ministry of Intelligence. He pleaded guilty to the allegations in a televised confession, but was acquitted and released in 2014 when his innocence was proven following a dispute between the Islamic Republic Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence. It is believed that many people have been victims of false allegations charges and never had the opportunity to prove their innocence.