Saturday, 18 July 2015
20 March 2023
Protest the extensive abuse of right to education in Iran

“Khanjani is one of the tens of expelled students”

2011 February 08

Ardavan Roozbeh/Radio Koocheh

Translated by Avideh Motmaen-Far/Radio Koocheh

Objections to heavy sentences for civil and human rights activists in Iran can be heard around the world these days. The rally before the Interests Section of the Islamic Republic in Washington DC, on Sunday, February Sixth, 2011, was one of these protests.

Heavy sentences that have unbelievably outraged people against the rulers in Iran, make us believe that the rulers themselves are going to push the regime to be overthrown in Iran.

Loss of international popularity, suspensions of diplomatic relations, widespread sanctions and unpopularity among the people in the world and inside Iran are the result of the Islamic Republic ‘s own makings that are leading it to a big crisis.

Condemnations such as 15 year or 12 year imprisonment for civil and human rights activists who are not even interested in political activities has become a legal practice in Iran.

According to the last sentence issued for “Navid Khanjani”, a civil rights activists, member of Human Rights Watchers in Iran and the founder of ”Combat Against Academic Discrimination”  group, should spend 12 years of his life in prison. This sentence is considered as one of the highest penalties, even for criminal offenses.

At the last Sunday’s rally in Washington DC, “Ali Afshari” student and activist living in America, in a part of his speech said:

”Not only Iranian students are expelled from universities but also when they protest this outrageous act, they get another even heavier sentence. It means that Navid Khanjani is expelled from the university and also sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Unfortunately, the results of the presidential election of 2010 has created a very difficult and complicated situation for Iranian students. I can dare to say that since the Cultural Revolution to today, once again, an unprecedented number of students are enduring heavy sentences of imprisonment. Currently ten, twelve and fifteen years imprisonment, have become a common practice in Iran and the student movement is in one of its most difficult times.

But as the past has shown, the Iranian students have never been intimidated and soon these kind of convictions will only be added to all the other regime’s failed projects. As long as universities exist in Iran, students remain critical and cannot be silenced. And even different generations of students will continue the activities of previous generations. Even if Navid and dozens of other prisoners are unfairly jailed today and paying the price of their bravery in defense of freedom and human dignity, there will be more Navids in the universities and the student movement will continue until the religious autocracy is overthrown in Iran. And I hope that one day in Iran, or even if we are here, together along with all the students who are in prison now and all previous generations of the student movement who were in prison, we will celebrate freedom with the decline of religious tyranny.”

Mr. ”Khanjani “, a civil rights activist and follower of Bahaii’s faith had tried in recent years only as a civil activist to raise awareness about the abuse of right to education, a right for all that normally exist in the Iranian constitution.

Prior to him, many civil rights activists and student have faced also heavy prison sentences like him. “Zia Nabavi”, “Bahareh Hedayat”, “Milad Asadi”, “Mahdieh Golroo” and many others, including journalists like “Hengameh Shahidi” and many of others who protested.

Thanks to efforts of a group of civil rights activists in Washington DC, on Sunday, the sixth of February, in a rally before the Interests Section of the Islamic Republic, this group of protesters chanting and displaying slogans protested the heavy sentence of Mr Khanjani and all the sentences  for other civil activists.

Regarding the reason for holding such gatherings Dr. ”Aram Hessami” the university lecturer mentioned:

”I consider that those who are outside the country have two duties. First one is to make sure that nobody forgets about the human rights abuse in Iran and be the voice of people who have been oppressed till now and keep in mind that these two issues are connected. I mean the link between students and activists issues, women issues and the propaganda machine of the regime should be somehow communicated to the world. And the second one, is to tell the government that the human rights issues should not be disregarded in favor of security and economic issues. On this subject I insist that the civil activists who were not diligent, see this message, and see how human rights issues are linked together. For example, how denial of right to study is linked to the people movement for freedom and make people more diligent. And most importantly the civil activist should work in parallel with the so-called security and the organization of the regime.”

According to the last sentence issued for “Navid Khanjani”, a civil rights activists, member of Human Rights Watchers in Iran and the founder of ”Combat Against Academic Discrimination”  group, should spend 12 years of his life in prison. This sentence is considered as one of the highest penalties even for criminal offenses.

Dr. ”Kavian Milani”, another University Professor, also explains the conditions that bring all the protester groups together and about their convergence says:

”The question we’re facing now is the issue of civil rights abuse which is a general and universal phenomenon. This is an issue of civil and human rights and there is no distinction between insider and outsider, or others.”

Do you think that the leading approach right now, I mean the protests, which may not be very big, is going to have an effect on democracy, media liberalization or at least on transparency in this situation?

”I hope it has. However, we believe that any regime, doctrine or philosophy can be modified and adjusted and hope this issue of human rights to be considered by rational groups in Iran that are interested in working in a more transparent situation. The regime should accept to be questioned on its radical aspects and should respect people and the human rights. The regime should be held accountable and I think that if it is given the time and space, it will be so.”

This rally on Sunday ended at 5PM with presence and speeches of Mr. ”Hesami”, ”Milani” and student activist ”Ali Afshari”.  At the end of the rally one of the participants, read the Statement of  the Human Rights Watchers in protest to the heavy sentence of Mr. Khanjani. Last Sunday, a decree issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 26, headed by Judge Pir Abbas, sentenced Navid Khanjani, the student already expelled from the University, to 12 years imprisonment and fine.

Also in a decree in which previously his lawyer was notified, he will be denied allowance to leave the country.

”Navid Khanjani” was charged on December the twentieth last year with spreading lies, disconcerting public opinion, propaganda against the Islamic Republic through news, reports and interviews with foreign radios and televisions, membership in the Council of Human Rights Committee and the foundation of ”Combat Against Academic Discrimination” group.

”Navid Khanjani” was arrested also last year on March two in Ispahan and after 65 days of temporary detention in section 2A of Evin Prison, was released on bail. This human rights activists spent the 25 first days of his detention in solitary confinement.


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