Friday , 22 September 2023

Iran University Students Face Reprisals over Protests, Hijab

Iranwire – The Islamic Republic’s relentless efforts to tighten its grip on universities and suppress student protests have reached a new level of intensity. 

After nearly nine months since nationwide anti-government demonstrations began, reports are emerging regarding the authorities’ increasing use of intimidation tactics and disciplinary measures on students involved in the protest movement.

One of the latest victims of the crackdown is Shahriyar Shams, a student in management at Tehran Azad University. 

Shams took to social media on June 8 to announce he had been “permanently expelled from the university” by its disciplinary committee. 

The young man had previously been arrested twice during protests.

Many students are also facing disciplinary committees and possible suspensions over issues related to the mandatory wearing of hijabs on campuses.

According to a report from the Tehran University of Science and Technology, at least 21 students have been summoned to the disciplinary committee since March for alleged violations of “improper clothing.” One case related to the attire worn by a person outside the university. 

In an interview with the United Students Telegram Channel, an activist from Tehran’s Amir Kabir University unveiled the bleak reality that has unfolded within the institution over the past year. 

While suppression always existed in the university, the security environment has become increasingly severe, the activist said. 

“Widespread arrests have targeted universities, with Amir Kabir University bearing the brunt. Security forces have gone beyond making phone threats, physically appearing on campuses to carry out extensive arrests.”

Some students have been stripped of essential welfare facilities such as dormitories and forcibly sent back to their hometowns. 

Rulings have been issued in absentia, depriving students of their right to appeal. The accused have been given little time to defend themselves before disciplinary committees due to the overwhelming number of cases.

This year’s academic year started amid widespread protests sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in custody of morality police.

Students were at the forefront of the protest movement for greater social and political freedoms, and many of them refused to attend classes for weeks in defiance of the authorities’ warnings.

Since the eruption of the unrest, a growing number of women have appeared in public without hijab.