Judiciary denies any knowledge of student almost 17 years after his arrest

Judiciary denies any knowledge of student almost 17 years after his arrest

Published by on January 8, 2016

Saeed-Zeinali-FamilyThe mother of a student who has not been heard from since soon after his arrest in Tehran in 1999 has dismissed the Iranian Judiciary’s claim that there was no evidence he was ever arrested.

Saeed Zeinali was last seen by his family in 1999 when he was arrested amidst widespread student protests in Iran that year, and he has not been heard from since a brief phone call three months after his arrest. Yet Iranian officials are now denying the then-22-year-old student was ever arrested and they claim no knowledge of the case.

In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Akram Neghabi, Zeinali’s mother, reacted to a statement made by Judiciary Spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei on January 3, 2016, that “so far no document has been found that shows [Saeed Zeinali] was arrested.”

“Has any family got a receipt when a member was arrested for security reasons during the past 36 years? Was I, the mother of Saeed Zeinali, too stupid not to get a receipt? Seventeen years [after Saeed’s disappearance] what sort of document should I be producing Mr. Ejei?”

Saeed Zeinali, born in 1976, was arrested five days after student protests that swept Iran in July 1999. He was a 22-year-old Tehran University computer science student at the time of his arrest at his home in Tehran on July 10, 1999. Three months later he made a brief telephone call to home and said “I’m well; don’t look for me,” but has not been heard of since, his mother told the Campaign.

Akram Neghabi added: “Unfortunately, 17 years after my son’s arrest they are asking me for proof. They took my son in front of my eyes in my home. That’s my proof. My late mother, God bless her soul, was in our home at that time. She and I fell on the agents’ feet and begged them not to take Saeed. They said it’s not anything serious. They said my son had a security issue and they would ask him a few questions and bring him back.”

Zeinali’s mother told the Campaign that numerous contacts and communications with the Judiciary, the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization, prison officials, and even with the Supreme Leader’s office had not produced any results in their search since no one would give a clear answer.

The case resurfaced on social media after Zeinali’s father was detained with a group of civil activists who were protesting in front of Evin Prison on November 22, 2015.

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

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