#Human Rights
Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament

Free Iranian Student Siavash Hatam, Suffering Psychologically During Second Prison Term For Peaceful Activism.

Siavash Hatam, an imprisoned student now serving his second prison term and who was banned from continuing his education, is in dire psychological state at Evin Prison’s Ward 350, according to the human rights watch group International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Siavash Hatam, a former student activist and director of the Islamic Association of Students at Bu-Ali Sina University of Hamadan, was arrested on June 15, 2009. He was released a month later on bail of $100,000. Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Hatam to four months in prison and 74 lashes. At the request of security forces, Hatam was transferred from Hamadan’s Buali University to Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University.

Intelligence Ministry forces arrested him again in December 2009 during an examination session at Shahin Beheshti University. Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced him to one year in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime,” but Siavash Hatam and his lawyer were uninformed of the case and the trial date and, therefore, did not present a defense.

After his release from his first one-year prison sentence, Siavash was visited at his home on several occasions by security agents, according to his father Mahmoud Hatam. “I don’t know what they said; I only know that they wanted Siavash to have no activities. When they showed up this morning (June 12, 2012), we thought like previous times they would talk a little and go. But this time they had Siavash’s arrest warrant and took him with them,” Hatam’s father said.

Indeed, on June 12, 2012 security forces raided their home and this time they took Siavash with them when they left. That was the day he learned that he had been sentenced to one year in prison for his second case, and the four-month prison term from his first case has also been upheld,” according to a source close to Siavash.

Imprisoned in Evin Prison’s Ward 350 since June 2012, Siavash is now reported to be in a very dire psychological state.

“Siavash has lost a lot of weight and does not have a good psychological state. He is 24. He was a graduate student when he was abruptly banned from continuing his education, and then he was imprisoned. The month-long solitary confinement, loneliness, his education ban, and his uncertain future have all made him depressed. He was taken to prison without knowing that he had been tried or sentenced. Siavash and his lawyer were unaware of a trial date; therefore they offered no defense, either," according to the same source.

Hatam’s father told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that he objects to this ruling and plans to file a complaint. “They told us that he was accused of ‘participating in illegal gatherings,’ but he was not arrested in any gatherings. He was arrested at home and on campus. Which gathering? Today we wish to file a complaint against our son’s transfer to prison and his sentence,” Hatam’s father said.

“Siavash shares a room with 30 other political prisoners, many of whom don’t have a bed and are forced to sleep on the floor. His visits with his family are all through the booth and only last a few minutes. This isn’t only Siavash’s problem; all prisoners have to deal with this. His family said that they were only able to visit with him through a booth for four minutes this week, because at visitation hour they bring in a group of prisoners into a hall where the number of booths does not match the number of prisoners present,” the source told the Campaign.

Describing the situation of family visitations at Evin Prison, the source said, “Fifty prisoners arrive at a visitation hall with 15 booths. Several of the cabins have disconnected telephone sets. Prisoner families, therefore, are aware of others waiting in line and quickly give their chair to another, so that they, too, can say a few words to their imprisoned kin. Families object to prison guards, and they respond that they have reported the broken telephones to prison authorities, asking them to replace them many times.”

WHEREAS: Siavash Hatam is clearly a prisoner of conscience who is suffering imprisonment and psychological trauma solely as a result of his peaceful student activism;

AND WHEREAS: His two convictions, as well as his two prison terms (one past, one being currently served) are therefore illegal under Article 18, Section 1, and Article 19, Sections 1 and 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as Article 24 of the Iranian Consitution;

THEREFORE: We the undersigned demand that the international community bring all possible pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately and uncondtionally release Siavash Hatam. Furthermore, the international community must insist that the prison sentences be rescinded and the charges vacated.

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The Free Iranian Student Siavash Hatam petition to Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.