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Detained Iranian Student Activist 'Prevented From Meeting Mother'


Iranian student activist Ashkan Zahabian

Iranian student activist Ashkan Zahabian

The mother of a detained Iranian student activist considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International says she is being denied a meeting with her son, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Ashkan Zahabian was arrested in the northern city of Sari on May 2, and is being held in the city's Shahid Kachoui detention facility, which is run by Iran's Intelligence Ministry.

His mother, Roghieh Jafarian, told RFE/RL on May 25 that she has not heard from her son for two weeks and the prison authorities will not let her meet with him.

Jafarian said the prison authorities "just say he is fine and we can see him soon."

She said that it is not clear when he will be transferred from the detention facility to prison.

A member of Iran's largest reformist student organization, the Office to Foster Unity, Zahabian was expelled from university in 2009 after working as a member of opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi's presidential election campaign.

It's the latest arrest for Zahabian, who was first taken into custody on June 16, 2009, and subsequently sentenced in absentia to six months' imprisonment.

Zahabian was arrested a second time on November 4, 2009, on a charge of acting against national security by forming Islamic associations in northern Iran. He was later released on bail.

In a statement on May 20, Amnesty International condemned a number of arbitrary arrests in Iran, including that of Zahabian.

"Amnesty International believes he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association," the campaign group said.

"Amnesty International continues to call on the Iranian government to end the continuing cycle of repression and fully respect Iran's obligations under international human rights law."
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