* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat ofAmnesty

International *


AI Index MDE 13/18/99








Amnesty International remains gravely concerned by recent eventsin the

Islamic Republic of Iran. Widespread demonstrations in thecapital, Tehran,

and in provincial centres since 8 July 1999, were followed byserious

clashes between student demonstrators, security forces andunofficial

vigilante groups. According to reports received by the humanrights

organization, dozens of persons have been injured, some seriously,hundreds

arrested, some of whom may be prisoners of conscience, and atleast five



"As a first step, the Iranian authorities should fulfil theircommitments

to investigate fully and impartially the killings and seriousattacks and

bring to justice all those found to be responsible", saidAmnesty



The violence began on 8 July, when a small number of students, whohad

gathered in a peaceful demonstration outside their universityhostels in

northern Tehran to protest against the closure of the dailynewspaper Salam,

were attacked by armed members of Ansar-e Hezbollah, a vigilantestudent

group which opposes current political developments in Iran.Security forces

posted at the scene reportedly failed to intervene to protect thestudents.

Some hours later, members of Ansar-e Hezbollah, together withmembers of the

security forces, stormed the student residences using teargas, asa result

of which at least one person was killed. According to reports, asa result

of this attack, which was strongly condemned by both thePresident,

Hojjatoleslam Sayed Mohammad Khatami, and the Supreme Leader,Ayatollah 'Ali

Khamenei, two senior police officers were arrested, and a specialcommittee

was appointed to investigate the causes of the violence.


In the following days the size and nature of the demonstrationschanged

dramatically, leading to an escalation in violence. Despite callsfor calm

from some student leaders and an official ban on demonstrations inTehran,

demonstrations continued and spread to other towns such as Shiraz,Rasht,

Esfahan, Mashhad and Tabriz.


The human rights organization is also alarmed by the scale ofarbitrary

arrests, including those of possible prisoners of conscience.Among those

known to have been arrested on 13 July is Maryam Shansi, a studentleader

who was attacked and beaten in her home by unidentified assailantson 12

June 1999. Her current legal status and whereabouts are unknown.Other well

known student activists, fearing for their safety, have reportedlygone into

hiding. According to other unconfirmed reports, two members of theIran

Nation Party (Hezb-e Mellat-e Iran), an unauthorized buttolerated

opposition group have also been arrested. They have been named asKhosrow

Sayf and Ahmad Namazi.


Amnesty International recognizes the right and responsibility ofall

governments to maintain law and order but this should never be atthe

expense of fundamental human rights. The organization calls onthe

authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran to take withoutfurther delay

the following measures to protect fundamental human rights,including the

right to life and freedom of expression, as guaranteed by theInternational

Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is astate



· to initiate a thorough and independent investigation intothe killings and

serious attacks and to bring to justice all those responsible;


· to ensure that any such investigation is carried outpromptly and

impartially, and that its methods and findings are madepublic;


· to release immediately and unconditionally all personsdetained solely on

account of peacefully expressing their conscientiously heldbeliefs;


· to make public the names of all those arrested inconnection with the

recent disturbances;


· ensure that all those arrested are humanely treated andgiven immediate

access to legal representation and family members, and that theybe

guaranteed a fair trial within a reasonable time or bereleased.


· to instruct its law enforcement authorities to adhere toagreed

international human rights standards including those governing theuse of

lethal force.




In recent months there have been several clashes betweenstudent

organizations supporting different political tendencies in theIslamic

Republic of Iran.


· On 6 July 1999 student activists Mohammad Masud Salamati,Sayed Javad

Emami and Parviz Safari were arrested and detained overnight aftera

demonstration outside the United Nations office in Tehran,demanding the

release of two journalists, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi and HosseinKashani, who

were arrested in mid-June 1999.


· Salam, a newspaper supporting reformist trends in theIranian

administration, was banned indefinitely on 7 July 1999 by order ofthe

Special Court for the Clergy (Dadgah-e Vizhe-ye Ruhaniyat),following a

complaint by the Ministry of Information (Vezarat-e Ettela'at)that it had

published "top secret" information. The official complaint waswithdrawn the

following day; however, it is not clear whether this will lead tothe

banning order being lifted.


· On 7 July 1999 the Majles (Parliament) voted to allowdebate on a bill

amending the current press law, aimed at severely curtailing thefreedom of

the press.


· On 9 July 1999 Amnesty International issued an UrgentAction (AI INDEX:

MDE 13/15/99, UA 160/99) urging the authorities, among otherthings, to

guarantee the safety and security of all students on universitycampuses,

and reminding the government of Iran of its commitment to theUniversal

Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 3: "Everyonehas the

right to life, liberty and security of person".





For more information please call Amnesty International's pressoffice in


UK, on 44 171 413 5566.


Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 EastonStreet,

WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom