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Award-Winning Iranian Students Pressured In Jail To Make Confessions

A source close to the family of a detained student told Iran International that he and his friend, another prize-winning student are under pressure to make forced confessions to security “crimes” concocted by the Islamic Republic officials.

The source said Amir-Hossein Moradi and Ali Younesi are being subjected to new rounds of interrogations and are threatened with execution if they do not confess to accusations the authorities are throwing at them.

Moradi and Younesi were arrested in April and accused of planning terrorist acts on behalf of Iran’s exiled opposition groups. Both are award-winning computer and physics students at Sharif University.

Younesi is a silver medalist of the National Astronomy Olympiad and the gold medalist of the World Astronomy Olympiad in 2017, where Moradi won the silver medal.

The source speaking to Iran International said interrogators are using “carrot and stick” tactics with the two students; threatening them one day and promising them a lenient sentence the next.

The detainees have had no access to lawyers and very limited contact with their families. The Islamic Republic never treats political detainees according to its own laws, which guarantees proper defense for the accused. Lawyers are often denied full access to files and trials are held behind closed doors.

In one instance when Moradi was allowed to call his family, the conversation was interrupted a soon as he began to complain about pressures in prison. When the call resumed, he told his family, “They don’t allow me even to speak with you.”

The source also said when the students were transferred from solitary cells to the general ward, other prisoners told them they are forced to confess to all sorts of activities just to avoid more physical and psychological pressures in jail.

After five months of incarceration, the authorities have not held any court hearings for the two, but in July they were subjected to a public interrogation with the presence of faculty members and students from Sharif University. Agents pressed them to confess to illegal activities. Later, the Sharif University Student Association issued a report condemning the authorities for the spectacle.

The spokesman of the Islamic Republic Judiciary has accused the young men of having links with the Mojahedin Khalq organization and preparing for acts of sabotage.

However, the two are not known as opposition student leaders and have never been arrested previously.

Younesi’s family has repeatedly denied the accusations against Ali and insisted his arrest and imprisonment are just attempts to portray dissatisfaction in the country as terrorist plots.

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