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IRAN - Feb. 29 - Students Testify Against Police.

Students take the stand at Tehran's military court to testify against police officers accused of brutality in raids on student dormitories in July 1999. (Former Tehran police chief Brig. Gen. Farhad Nazari, 7 other officers and 12 others were facing charges of illegally entering Tehran University hostels, beating students and destroying their property. The case marked a rare prosecution in open court of members of the security forces, who often have been seen as above the law. But the reform movement, fresh from victory in recent parliamentary polls, says the current prosecutions are not enough. Its members are demanding action against the vigilantes who they say were instrumental in the bloody assault. At least 1 person was killed and more than 200 students injured in the initial attacks by police and hard-line vigilantes. The raid touched off 6 days of demonstrations that escalated into rioting in central Tehran.)

Students testify to being forced through lines of policemen who beat them with batons before throwing them out of windows or down stairwells. (The police attack on pro-democracy students protesting the closure of a leading reformist newspaper by a hard-line court sparked the worst social unrest in Iran since the aftermath of the Islamic revolution.) Assistant military prosecutor Houshang Eqbal says in addition to the criminal charges, some 400 students have filed complaints against the police for damage to personal property. But the court did not allow the family of Ezzat Ebrahim-Nejad, who was killed in the unrest, to speak pending completion of investigations into his death. Students fear the authorities are unwilling to confront the so-called pressure groups, used by hard-line elements to intimidate reformist leaders. Student leader Ali Afshari says: "Because there is insufficient will, and because of support for some rogue agents behind the attack, they have not been punished". Mohsen Armin, a newly elected leftist member of parliament from Tehran, vows the next parliament would take up the case if the judiciary did not prosecute the so-called pressure groups widely blamed for the attack.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Mar 4, 2000
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