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Parliament select committee members meet jailed students in Iran

Members of a select committee, formed on the order of Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, was to meet Sunday with another group of students, who were arrested in June as well as last month in unrests here, an MP said, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"Thus far, we have met 70 students and less than 16 other students have been arrested since our last visit, whom we will meet today," a member of the committee, Mohsen Safaie Farahani, who represents Tehran in the Parliament, said.

The students are arrested in several days of rioting following a peaceful gathering of students to protest the perceived privatization of state universities, which officials have rejected.

Farahani said 30 students were being held in Evin prison, including 18 people whose cases have been sent to the court for investigation. The rest were waiting for investigations to become complete.

Negotiations were underway to convince the court to release the incarcerated students on bail, the MP said, adding three to four students had been freed so far under this order.

"What is important for us at this time, it the imprisonment of students and their release," he said.

Media had quoted the state prosecutor general, Abdon-Nabi Namazi, as saying that police had detained 4,000 people across the country in connection with the unrest.

Karroubi had said that very few students were among those arrested offenses, in Tehran in connection with recent unrest.

Police chief in Tehran province, Brigadier General Mahmoud Japalaqi, was quoted as saying that only 10 of those arrested were students and the rest included 'thugs and hooligans'.

Press said plain-clothes vigilantes had attacked a university dormitory in Tarasht, west of Tehran, and violently beaten up students, in addition to destroying their personal belonging.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Washington was behind riots in the Islamic Republic and accused it of 'blatant interference in the country's internal affairs' through provoking the unrest. This view was echoed by other state officials.

Officials said among those detained are agents who worked for 'foreign countries' and passed information to foreign televisions as well as several sympathizers of terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization.

Press, citing officials, also implicated some of nationalist-religious activists -- advocates of liberal Freedom Movement of Iran -- which is outlawed, in the unrest.

... Payvand News - 8/3/03 ... --

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