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Iranian Student Leaders Given Lengthy Prison Sentences

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Bahareh Hedayat

Bahareh Hedayat and Milad Asadi, senior members of Iran's largest pro-reform student group, Daftar Tahkim Vahdat (Office to Foster Unity), have been given lengthy prison sentences. Hedayat received 9 1/2 years, while Asadi was given seven years.

The charges against them included insulting Iran's leaders and acting against national security.

Hedayat's husband, Amin Ahmadian, has described her sentence as "shocking." He said it seems to be aimed as a warning to students and called it an attempt to create fear ahead of the first anniversary of last year's presidential vote.

The student group's website,, says the severity of the sentences are unprecedented.

Both Hedayat and Asadi were reportedly arrested in December 2009.

Here is a video message from Hedayat -- in Persian with English subtitles -- in which she speaks about the pressures faced by Iranian student activists and the role the activists play in Iran's pro-democracy movement. She says students have been the main victims of the postelection crackdown in Iran:


Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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