Iran General NewsStudents in Iran protest sentences for 3 activists

Students in Iran protest sentences for 3 activists

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New York Times: Students at one of the most politically active universities in Tehran demonstrated Monday amid high security to protest jail terms for three student activists, an Iranian student news agency reported. The New York Times

By NAZILA FATHI
Published: October 23, 2007

TEHRAN, Oct. 22 — Students at one of the most politically active universities in Tehran demonstrated Monday amid high security to protest jail terms for three student activists, an Iranian student news agency reported.

Students from different universities gathered at Amir Kabir University to protest sentences of up to three years issued last week for the activists, Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghassaban, the student news agency, ISNA, reported.

Authorities accused the three, all from Amir Kabir University, of publishing articles insulting to Islam in student publications. The students denied the charges and said their publications had been forged to frame them.

Mr. Mansouri’s mother said in August that the three men were tortured at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

Pictures distributed by ISNA showed a few hundred students, whose faces were digitally blurred to maintain their anonymity, holding photographs of the jailed students. The news agency also reported that the protesters walked around the campus chanting slogans and giving speeches in front of its central building.

“The student movement is under pressure and needs unity,” said Rashid Esmaili, a student activist from Alameh Tabatabai University in Tehran.

Two weeks ago, students at Tehran University protested during a speech given by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. More than 100 students clashed with supporters of Mr. Ahmadinejad, where he was speaking to mark the start of the school year.

Students and professors there were angered when Mr. Ahmadinejad appointed a cleric as the university’s president.

In December, a small group of students at Amir Kabir chanted “Death to the Dictator!” during a visit to the university by Mr. Ahmadinejad.

The Web site of the Islamic Association of Students, a student organization at Amir Kabir, reported that protesters were chanting “Down with the dictator” and “Political students must be freed,” according to Agence France-Presse.

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