Degrading Treatment Of Zia Nabavi And His Family During Prison Visit
A human rights activist close to Zia Nabavi, a prisoner of conscience, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that prison authorities at Karoun Prison in Ahvaz stopped an in-person visitation between Nabavi and his family who had traveled for 20 hours to see him, forcing them to visit through a booth, after conducting a degrading body search on Nabavi.
According to the said source, just before the in-person visit between Nabavi and his family which only lasted one minute was turned into a meeting through a booth, in an illegal act the prison authorities insisted on a demeaning body search. Zia Nabavi’s family refused to comment on the incident.
Zia Nabavi’s family had driven for 20 hours from the city of Semnan to meet their only son in Ahvaz. They were thoroughly searched and according to the source, even Zia Nabavi’s four-year-old niece had to go through a body search.
“After the unusual body search by the prison authorities, Zia Nabavi was able to visit with his mother and sister in person for less than one minute. After the meeting started, a prison authority insulted Zia Nabavi and his family and prevented the in-person meeting to continue. The family then had a visit with Nabavi through a booth for a few minutes. Prison authorities did not explain the reason for this illegal and inhumane treatment,” the human rights activist told the Campaign. “It seems the reason for this unethical and illegal treatment by Ahvaz Prison authorities was to prevent the release of the ‘starred student’s’ hand-written notes,” the source added.
“After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the existence of ‘starred students’ during his elections debates, Zia Nabavi and other starred and banned-from-education students held several gatherings in front of Tehran University and IRIB [Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting] to challenge the unreal and false statements made by Ahmadinejad, and to expose him. The treatment of Zia Nabavi, Majid Dorri, Shiva Nazar Hari, Mahdieh Golroo, and tens of other students who were banned from education after the election, and the unfounded charges against members of the Right To Education Council, were all politically-motivated and were intended by security organizations to seek revenge on starred students for exposing Ahmadinejad during the days following the election debates,” said the human rights activist who requested anonymity.
“Security officers have told Zia Nabavi in prison that he would be released on condition of agreeing to a television interview. They have asked Zia numerous times to appear on a show interview, and to announce that he is not a starred student, and basically that there are no starred students. The request by interrogators and security forces has met with Zia Nabavi’s resistance and refusal. When he first arrived the Karoun Prizon in Ahvaz, prison authorities repeated this demand, asking him to [appear on] security forces’ cameras to confirm the lies Ahmadinejad told during the election debates, in order to be released. Zia did not accept this offer, either,” added the source.
Seyed Ziaoddin (Zia) Nabavi, a Chemical Engineering student, enrolled in Babol Noshirvani University of Technology in 2002. Between 2003 and 2007, with direct student votes, Nabavi was elected a member of the Central Council of the Islamic Association of the university. He was arrested after security forces stormed the university at night on 5 June 2009, taking him along with 15 other students for holding a hunger strike. He was subsequently suspended from education for two terms. Nabavi passed the graduate entrance exam and qualified for admission, however he was banned from education in 2008. He and a few other banned students formed the “Council to Defend the Right to Education” to defend the rights of banned students.
Nabavi was physically and psychologically pressured in 120 days of interrogations after his arrest. Human rights activists appealed for his release but Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Pirabassi, sentenced Nabavi to 74 lashes and 15 years of imprisonment, ten years of which was to be served in the city is Izeh. The court ruling was later reduced by an appeals court to 10 years’ imprisonment in exile. On 22 November 2010, without prior notice, Nabavi was transferred to Karoon Prison in Ahvaz.