Wave of student arrests in Iran includes two high-profile winners of medals in International Astronomy Olympiad

Two of the most accomplished and internationally recognized students in Iran are among those arrested and tortured as the regime's fear of an uprising escalates.

The spokesman of Iran's Judiciary on Tuesday admitted to the arrest of two elite students from the Sharif University of Technology after detaining them for 26 days.  Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, who was speaking to reporters, said the two students had linked up with the MEK.

Reciting a series of trumped up charges, Esmaili alleged that the students — who were not named — had engaged in "diversionary actions" and were "attempting to carry out sabotage operations."  "Explosive devices used in sabotage operations were discovered when their homes were searched," he said.

Image by HRM-Iran.

"Amid the Coronavirus, this was essentially a conspiracy by the enemies; they wanted to wreak havoc in the country, which was fortunately thwarted by the vigilance and timely action of intelligence ministry agents," Esmaili added.

According to Human Right Monitor, it seems that the Judiciary spokesman is referring to the 20-year-old award-winning computer science student of Tehran's Sharif Industrial University, Ali Younesi, and another award-winning physics student, Amir-Hossein Moradi, who were both arrested on April 10.

Amir-Hossein Moradi disappeared and Ali Younesi was brought home in the evening of the same day, with injuries and torture marks.  The family of Ali Younesi says he was assaulted and injured by twelve security agents.  After a few hours, his parents were taken away with him and interrogated for hours under pressure.

Ali Younesi, who was the winner of the gold medal in the International Astronomy Olympiad in 2018 in China, is twenty years old and a second-year computer science student at Tehran's Sharif Industrial University.
 Amir-Hossein Moradi won the Olympiad silver medal in 2017.

On May 6, the Human Right Monitor–Iran announced the names of 18 others, among the many who have been arrested, as follows:

Mohammad Reza Ashrafi Samani, Isfahan
Nahid Fat'halian, Tehran
Kamran Rezaeifar, Tehran
Sepehr Imam Jomeh, Tehran
Parastoo Mo'ini, Tehran
Zahra Safaei, Tehran
Bijan Kazemi, Kuhdasht
Forough Taghipour, Tehran
Marzieh Farsi, Tehran
Massoud Rad, Tehran
Mohammad Mehri, Qom
Somayeh Bidi, Karaj
Mohammad Hassani, Karaj
Rasool Hassanvand, Khorramabad
Gholam Ali Alipour, Amol
Mehran Gharabaghi, Behbahan
Majid Khademi, Behbahan
Saeed Rad, Semnan

HRM added that the National Council of Resistance — Iran (NCRI)'s leader emphasized that the detainees are subject to torture and face execution, as well as in danger of being exposed to the coronavirus, and  urged the secretary-general of the United Nations, the high commissioner for human rights, and the Human Rights Council, as well as the international human rights organizations, to take urgent action to secure the release of the detainees and to send international missions to visit the regime's prisons and meet with these prisoners.

At the same time, the NCRI said in a statement, "The clerical regime must publish the names of all the detainees and respect all their rights by the international conventions to which it is a party.  Torture and ill treatment of political prisoners are well known practices of the regime.  Since the December 2017 uprising, a significant number of prisoners have been murdered under torture.  The regime maintains silence and engages in a cover-up about the fate of these prisoners.  And when compelled to say anything, it claims they have committed suicide and killed themselves."

Hassan Mahmoudi, social analyst, researcher, is an independent observer and commentator of Middle Eastern and Iranian affairs.

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