Iran: Be a voice for Zia Nabavi: Prisoner of Conscience
Zia Nabavi (Sayed Ziaoddin Nabavi) is a member of the Council to Defend the Right to Education, a body set up in 2009 by students barred from further study because of their political activities or on account of their being Baha’is. He was arrested in June 2009, along with his cousin Atefeh Nabavi who was later sentenced to four years in prison. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment and 74 lashes in January 2010, which was reduced to 10 years to be served in internal exile.
In September 2010 Zia Nabavi was transferred to Karoun Prison in the city of Ahvaz, in the south-west of Iran to serve his imprisonement in exile far away from his family who live in Semnan, in the north of Iran. It is believed that this penalty amounts to “banishment”, one of the possible punishments for “enmity against God” of which he was convicted. The Iranian authorities have claimed that the PMOI and other groups were responsible for organizing the post-election demonstrations. Zia Nabavi denies all the charges, stressing that he has never had contact with the PMOI and has been extremely careful never to give the impression of doing so, since he has relatives living in PMOI-run camps in Iraq.
Zia is reported to have been severely beaten and held in solitary confinement for 48 hours after his arrival at Karoun Prison. After two days, he was transferred to the special security ward of the prison, where he was able to contact his family and friends. He told them that the conditions in the prison are very poor. He is permitted one meal for breakfast and one for dinner. He was only allowed to use the hygienic facilities once during the first two days. There is only one toilet and one bath in the security ward and the temperature is extremely hot. There is no ventilation system and the prisoners do not have proper access to drinking water.
Zia Nabavi was previously arrested while studying at Mazandaran University, and was later barred from resuming his studies.
Please take action on behalf of Zia Nabavi. Call on Iranian authorities to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Sayed Ziaoddin Nabavi as he is a prisoner of conscience held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and association;
- Ensure that he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and is granted immediate and regular access to a lawyer, his family and adequate medical treatment;
- Transfer Zia Nabavi to a prison close to his home, so his family can visit him more easily, in line with international standards;
- Conduct an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into reports that Sayed Ziaoddin Nabavi was beaten, kicked and insulted during his interrogation and when he was transferred to Karoun Prison; call for anyone found responsible for torture or other ill-treatment to be brought to justice promptly and fairly;
Head of Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
(care of) Public relations Office
Number 4, 2 Azizi Street
Vali Asr Ave., above Pasteur Street intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency