Multiple Iranian university students have been subjected to
physical and sexual assault and forced disappearances for allegedly
participating in recent protest movements surrounding the country’s
treatment of women. In particular, the cases of Sahra Rezaei, Soha
Mortezei, and Melika Gharegozlou are particularly egregious.
December 28, 2022
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Dear President Raisi:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers, and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We are writing in regard to Sahra Rezaei, Soha Mortezei, and Melika Gharegozlou, just three of the many students who have been violently assaulted or even disappeared for allegedly participating in recent protests about women’s rights.
Sahra Rezaei is an Afghani journalism student at Allameh Tabataba’i University in Tehran who cannot be located anywhere. The CCS is concerned that she was secretly imprisoned – or worse – by your government ahead of a visit by a government spokesman to that university. Her lawyer cannot confirm her presence anywhere, dead or alive.
Melika Gharegozlou, another student at that same university, appears to have been taken to a psychiatric hospital against her will where she was subjected to torture. The CCS is concerned that the conditions she is being held in will lead to her death under the pretense of mental health treatment, as she is in poor health and has undertaken a hunger strike. The CCS is also concerned that her family has been intimidated into not speaking out on her behalf.
Soha Mortezei is a former student at Tehran University who has been subjected to physical and sexual assault while en route to Evin Prison. She has been banned from completing a PhD in Political Science. She appears to be currently detained in Qarchak Prison. The CCS is concerned that she has been tortured in retaliation for her peaceful activism.
We write to urge your government to release these students as well as all other students being held because of their alleged roles in protests against the government. These students should be released on bail and granted medical treatment and proper legal defense. They should also be given access to both family and friends.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. We will be closely following developments in this case.
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 687-2020
Fax: (212) 867-7086
Antony J. Blinken
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520 USA
Phone: (202) 647-4000
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Imam Khomeini Street, Imam Khomeini Square,