The lawyer of Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi, who were both violently arrested by the security forces in April 2020, says the regime’s judiciary officials continue to prevent the two students from signing the power of attorney.
Attorney Mostafa Nili said on Tuesday, November 4 that the overseeing assistance prosecutor is preventing the students from power of attoreny claiming they need the court’s approval in order to hire their attorney.
International law guarantees anyone accused of a crime access to a lawyer at all stages of criminal proceedings, including during the investigation, the pretrial proceedings, and during the trial itself. Under Article 1 of the UN basic principles of the role of a lawyer, “All persons are entitled to call upon the assistance of a lawyer of their choice to protect and establish their rights and to defend them in all stages of criminal proceedings.”
Nili had previously said that the court had appointed judiciary-approved lawyers for the two detained students.
During the past months only the judiciary-appointed lawyers have been given access to some part of the files for the two students and those lawyers have not shared any information with the families, and lawyers hired by the families of the two have not been allowed any access to the case files at all.
Elit students violently arrested without warrant
Plain-clothed agents, who did not have an arrest warrant, violently assaulted, beat and arrested the two students on April 10, 2020.
Amir Hossein Moradi, who won the National Astronomy Olympiad silver medal in 2017, disappeared completely, while Ali Younesi, who won the gold medal at the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics in 2018, was arrested and returned home that evening with injuries and torture marks.
A few hours later, Younesi was arrested again, this time with his parents, and interrogated for hours under pressure.
The students at Sharif University have been holding protests, demanding to know the fate of their friends.
Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili said on May 5, 2020, that Moradi and Younesi were arrested for their support of the Iranian Resistance, before listing a few trumped-up national security charges that are often levied against political prisoners, i.e. “diversionary actions” and was “attempting to carry out sabotage operations”.
Intelligence Ministry puts pressure on Younesi and Moradi
On July 12, 2020, three months after their arrest, a meeting was held at the Palace of Justice in Tehran in the presence of Younesi and Moradi, as well as student representatives, Sharif University administrators, academics, judiciary and Intelligence Ministry officials, as well as two agents who interrogated the two students.
Based on several accounts published by those present at the meeting, judicial and security officials attempted to force the two students to accept some of the charges. The attempt failed after the audience supported their award-winning classmates.
In a report on the gathering, the Sharif University Islamic Association divulged that the detained students were deprived of the right to meet their families and did not have access to a lawyer of their choice.
On July, 16, 2020, Fars News, which is close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), published its version of the meeting and claimed those present were shown many examples that proved the two students had committed acts of sabotage.
The publications angered many student organizations.
On July 16, 2020, the Iranian Students Trade Union Council condemned the controversial article as “another devastating assault on the independence of the universities in Iran.”
Iran’s plot to force the elite students into coerced confessions
Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi are under severe pressure from Iranian regime authorities to “confess” to crimes they have not committed.
In a tweet on September 5, Aida Younesi, sister to Ali Younesi, said that her brother has been by told by interrogators to cooperate with their demands to have his death sentence commuted to life in prison. It is worth noting that neither Ali Younesi nor Amir Hossein Moradi have had a single court session and it appears that the Iranian regime’s so-called judiciary has already issued a death sentence for at least Ali Younesi.
Aida said that agents told her brother, “We will decide the judge’s verdict. If we want, the verdict would be a death penalty … but you would be spared provided you accept to have a televised confession.” While Ali’s trial has yet to be held, Aida said that Intelligence Ministry agents told her brother that they were responsible for deciding his fate, not the courts.
At the same time, interrogators also attempted to transfer Ali to a building claiming it was the Swedish Embassy in Tehran and placed a man wearing a suit and a tie in front of him.
On September 10, 2020, Mostafa Nili said the offer was unusual because the Swedish Embassy had no knowledge of any such meeting being discussed.
It would appear that the security establishment is trying to build a case against him by accusing him of collaborating with a foreign government, to make up for a lack of evidence of guilt.
Although the plan to arrange “talks with Swedish officials” failed miserably, authorities are constantly continuing their threats and deceptive measures against Ali Younesi and Amir Hossein Moradi in order to obtain their coerced confessions.
Iran Human Rights Monitor has time and again emphasized that the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Council should take action aimed at forcing the mullahs’ regime to allow an international delegation to visit its prisons and meet with these two students.