First UA: 76/20 Index: MDE 13/2306/2020 Iran Date: 12 May 2020
UNIVERSITY STUDENT AT RISK OF TORTURE
Iranian university student Ali Younesi has been arbitrarily detained since 10 April 2020.
His family believes he is being held in Tehran’s Evin prison, where he has been denied
access to a lawyer and permitted only two brief telephone calls to his family. The Iranian
authorities have not provided clear reasons for his arrest. He is a prisoner of conscience
targeted solely for his family ties and is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
TAKE ACTION: WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER
Head of the Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi
c/o Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN
Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland
Instagram account: raisi_org
Dear Mr Raisi,
University student Ali Younesi, aged 20, has been arbitrarily detained since his arrest on 10 April 2020, and the
Iranian authorities have not provided clear information about the reason for his arrest. Instead, they have publicly
accused him, and another university student arrested the same day of ties to “counterrevolutionary” groups and alleged
“explosive devices” had been found in their homes, violating their right to be presumed innocent and raising serious
concerns about their wellbeing. They are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
On the evening of 10 April, Ali Younesi, who had been at university that day, was taken handcuffed to his home in
Tehran by 12 plainclothes security agents. His forehead was split open with a gash and he had blood all over his face
and wounds on his body, raising concerns that security agents had tortured him. Security agents searched his family
home and took Ali Younesi’s parents away to an undisclosed location for interrogations for several hours before
releasing them. The security officials did not identify themselves and showed neither an arrest nor search warrant.
Since his arrest, Ali Younesi has been permitted two brief telephone calls with his family and has been denied access
to a lawyer. His family was informed by a prosecutor that he has been charged with “undertaking destruction” without
providing further information. Then, on 5 May 2020, during his weekly press conference, Iran’s judiciary spokesperson
Gholamhossein Esmaili, in apparent reference to Ali Younesi and the other arrested university student, stated that two
university students had been arrested for being in contact with “counterrevolutionary” groups. He used a pejorative
term to refer to one such group – People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), an opposition group based outside
of Iran - apparently based on their families’ past or current association with the PMOI, and failed to provide any
evidence for the judiciary’s accusations. In a public video response posted on social media later the same day, Ali
Younesi’s sister, Aida Younesi, stated that the judiciary’s accusations were “ridiculous”.
I call on you to release immediately and unconditionally Ali Younesi and anyone else arbitrarily detained solely based
on their families’ real or perceived ties to opposition groups. Pending this, I ask you to ensure that they are protected
from torture and other ill-treatment, provided urgently with any medical care they may require, and given access to
their families and a lawyer of their choosing. I also urge you to open an independent investigation into allegations that
Ali Younesi had been tortured on the day of his arrest with a view of bringing those responsible to justice in proceedings
meeting international standards for fair trial.