AFP: Iranian students on Monday staged a protest against the jailing of three colleagues, shouting slogans against officials and proclaiming the prisoners’ innocence, Iranian news agencies reported. TEHRAN (AFP) Iranian students on Monday staged a protest against the jailing of three colleagues, shouting slogans against officials and proclaiming the prisoners’ innocence, Iranian news agencies reported.
Three students from Tehran’s Amir Kabir University — Ehsan Mansouri, Majid Tavakoli and Ahmad Ghassaban — were last week given jail sentences of up to three years on charges of anti-Islamic images in four student newspapers.
The protest was held at Amir Kabir University by its Islamic Association of Students, joined by protesters from Tehran, Sanati Sharif and Alameh Tabatabai universities, the student ISNA and semi-official Mehr news agencies reported.
Pictures published by ISNA showed that crowds of a few hundred students had turned out, despite apparent official efforts to prevent the demonstration taking place.
“Down with the dictator” and “political students must be freed” were among the slogans chanted in the protest, the association’s website said.
“The university’s director had yesterday (Monday) banned the association’s members and some other political activists from entering the campus and also asked for a police presence in order to stop this event,” the website said.
ISNA said that the protesters walked around in the campus while chanting slogans and also held short speeches in front of the central university hall.
“We have come together here today to prove to the management of the university that our friends are innocent and we are ready to defend them,” one Amir Kabir students, Sedigheh Bigdeli, was quoted as saying.
“The insulting publications were falsified under the logo of the Islamic Association in order to prevent the elections of the association,” she said.
Photos taken by mobile phones at the scene showed students holding pictures of the jailed students and banners held by protesters had slogans against some of the country’s officials, the ISNA report said.
ISNA had blurred the faces of the students at the gathering in their pictures for their security.
The gathering started at 0730 GMT and came to an end after nearly three hours, the reports said. The students who tried to leave the campus were blocked by police.
In August, Mansouri’s mother publicly accused the authorities of torturing the young men at Tehran’s infamous Evin prison in an effort to obtain confessions. The judiciary insists that torture is not used in Iran.
The demonstration was held two weeks after students held a noisy protest against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he gave a speech at Tehran University, likening him to the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Ahmadinejad had been famously heckled during a speech last year to students at Amir Kabir, one of the most prestigious institutions in Iran which has long been a hotbed of political activity.
In 1999, Tehran was the scene of bloody student riots sparked when Islamist vigilantes raided university dormitories.