Action Memorandum 041

July 23, 1999


FDI Calls on the Islamic Republic to release jailed studentleaders


The Foundation for Democracy in Iran has called on the IslamicRepublic authorities to release jailed student leaders ManoucherMohammadi and Gholamreza Mohajeri-Nezhad, as well as allother persons illegally detained during the recent protests in Tehranand other Iranian cities.

The Intelligence Minister announced on Sunday, July 18, that ithad arrested Mohammadi and Mohajeri-Nezhad, and accused them ofconspiring with "with the help of the counter-revolution and of theso-called human rights circles" to plan the recent student protests.Relatives of both men expressed fear that they could be executedunder Iran's tough 1996 espionage law. Seyyed Javad Emami and HasanZare'zadeh Ardeshir, of the Central Committee of the Student'sIslamic Association, and Mohammad Salamati, the secretary of theStudent's United Front , were also reportedly taken into custody.

On Monday, Mohammadi was displayed briefly on state-runtelevision, looking puffy-faced and drugged, "confessing" to havingmade contact with outlawed political parties during a trip last yearto Turkey and the United States. In the staged confession, Mohammadiagreed to charges, first aired by the Intelligence Ministry the daybefore, that he had coordinated the student protests with a"counter-revolutionary agent" in Turkey, and had received paymentfrom him.

This outrageous show trial has fooled no one in Iran or in freecountries. On the contrary, Mohammadi's courage in facing up totorture at the hands of the Islamic Republic authorities, and hissteadfast struggle for democracy and freedom of expression, willserve as an example for other student leaders who will take up thebanner of democracy and freedom in Iran.

Parading Mohammadi on state-run television after he had been soobviously beaten and drugged will only reinforce the determination offreedom-loving Iranians around the world to stand up and be countedin their opposition to tyranny. Far from quelling unrest, theauthorities are inviting further disturbances.

In his denunciation of the student protesters on July 12,President Khatami revealed his true colors, choosing repression, notfreedom. By denouncing the right of Iranian students to protestpeacefully, President Khatami showed that the "rule of law" he seeksto promote bears no resemblance to any internationally-recognizedstandard of human rights. If President Khatami is to claim anylegitimacy as a reformer, he should immediately seek theunconditional release of Mohammadi, Mohajeri-Nezhad, and all othersarrested during the student protests. FDI has few illusions that hewill do so.

This is why we believe it is important for Iranians, and forfreedom-loving people everywhere, to unite in protesting theoutrageous behavior of the clerical regime in Tehran, and demand theimmediate and unconditional release of all of those arrested duringthe recent protests.

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private,non-profit corporation registered in the State of Maryland.Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director ( materials, including the FDI Newswire, are availablefree-of-charge via the Internet at