Ali Younesi (L) and Amir Hossein Moradi before their arrests in 2020. FILE

Ali Younesi (L) and Amir Hossein Moradi before their arrests in 2020.

Iranian Agents Threatened To Rape, Kill Students To Get Confessions

Thursday, 08/11/2022

Officers threatened to sexually assault two university students who are imprisoned in Iran on security charges, the brother of one them told Iran International.

In an interview with Iran International on Thursday, Reza Younesi said that his brother Ali Younesi and another student Amir Hossein Moradi were repeatedly threatened to be killed or raped by agents while they were incarcerated in solitary confinement.

Reza, who is based in Sweden, referred to a report by the Amnesty International released on August 4 that disclosed new details about the two, saying even their families were not aware of their situation and the ill-treatment because they were held in solitary confinement for nearly 60 days without any contacts with their families and lawyers.

According to an informed source cited by the Amnesty International, they “confessed” under the threat of death and sexual violence after being transferred out of Section 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison to a location outside prison, where Ministry of Intelligence agents warned them prison regulations did not apply.

Amnesty International also said that after Branch 36 of the Appeals Court upheld their convictions and sentences on June 6, 2022, Ministry of Intelligence agents visited Amirhossein Moradi’s father and made vague promises about the possibility of his son’s release in exchange for agreeing to a “friendly” interview with state TV and publicly criticizing dissidents, which Amirhossein Moradi refused.

The two Sharif University award-winning science students were arrested in April 2020, with a judiciary spokesman announcing that explosive devices had been found in their homes and that they had links to “counter-revolutionary groups.”

After a grossly unfair trial, a Revolutionary Court in Iran sentenced the duo to 16 years in prison on April 25, 2022, over spurious national security charges such as “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, “spreading propaganda against the system [regime]” and “destruction of public property” for their participation in peaceful protests in January 2020 and their families’ real or perceived ties to exiled Albania-based opposition group Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK). Their convictions were based on “confessions” which both men retracted in court and said were obtained under torture and other ill-treatment.

“The authorities violated their [Moradi and Younesi] right to be presumed innocent by publicly accusing them of ties to ‘counterrevolutionary’ groups apparently based on their families’ real or perceived association” with the opposition group MEK, Amnesty wrote in November 2021.

In a letter in January, several Nobel Laureates and leading academics asked United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to petition Iran over Moradi and Younesi. In May 2021, more than 170 professors and students at Sharif University wrote a letter to the Iranian authorities demanding their release. Younesi won the gold medal in the International Astronomy Olympiad in 2018 in China, and Moradi was an award-winning physics student.

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