In a joint letter to the UN Secretary-General & the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a group of Nobel laureates and academic researchers called for the immediate release of university students Ali Younesi and Amirhossein Moradi.
The signatories of the letter which was released on Tuesday, January 18, called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as well as Michel Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to make any “practical and possible efforts” for the release of political prisoners, particularly Amir Hossein Moradi and Ali Younesi.
The letter states that Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi, who have been arbitrarily in detention since April 2020, were subjected to mental and physical torture and other forms of ill-treatment, such as forced confession.
In December 2021, a video of forced confessions by the two students was published by the IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency. The release of the video was met with reactions from activists and some human rights organizations, including a warning from Amnesty International.
The letter is signed by ten prominent academic figures including Professor Noam Chomsky, and six Nobel Prize winners, including Randy Schekman, Nobel laureate in Physiology in 2013 and Barry Barish, Nobel prize in physics n 2017.
Younesi and Moradi were violently arrested by state agents on April 10, 2020.
Ali Younesi won a gold medal in the International Astronomy Olympiad in 2016 after winning a silver medal in Iran’s domestic astronomy Olympiad in 2015. Amir Hossein Moradi won a silver medal in Iran’s domestic astronomy Olympiad in 2016.
On May 5, 2020, Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili accused Moradi and Younesi of establishing contacts with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and claimed that agents had found “explosive items” inside their homes.
In his press conference on May 5, the judiciary spokesman alleged that “one of the family members of the students (Younesi) had been a member of the MEK.”
Younesi and Moradi have been put under pressure and exposed to torture during interrogations to make forced ‘confessions’ on television and accept the fabricated allegations against them.