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09/22/11

Iran Permanently Bans Prominent Jailed Student From Studies

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

An Iranian court has reportedly sentenced a well-known jailed student activist to a permanent ban on studies.


Majid Tavakoli has been one of the most prominent symbols of Iran's embattled student movement. (undated photo)

Majid Tavakoli, one of the prominent symbols of Iran's embattled student movement who was arrested in the postelection crackdown, is currently serving an 8 1/2-year jail term. Charges against him that led to his conviction include propaganda against the Iranian establishment and insulting Iran's leaders. Now, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports that a revolutionary court in Tehran recently ruled that even upon release, Tavakoli will not be allowed to study at any of the country's universities.

Reports say the ruling was issued by Judge Salavati -- known for issuing harsh sentences against activists -- following a request by Iran's Education Ministry.

An Education Ministry that bans young people from studying is one of those sad and rare phenomena that are probably unique to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Because of his outspokenness, his uncompromising commitment to his stances, and his courage in standing up to the Iranian regime, Tavakoli is highly respected among student activists, who refer to him as "the honor of the student movement."


Majid Tavakoli and fellow inmate Ahmad Zeidabadi at Evin prison

Following his 2009 arrest at a student gathering at Tehran's Amir Kabir University, where he held a speech condemning state repression, activists launched a campaign in his support.

Tavakoli has at times reportedly received harsher treatment than his fellow prisoners. He's gone on several hunger strikes to protest against his prison conditions. Tavakoli was also jailed in 2006 and 2007 over his political activism.

It's unclear whether Tavakoli has been informed of the latest ruling in his case.


Copyright (c) 2011 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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