Amnesty International 

In recent years a number of students, writers, publishers and others have been victims of grave human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite significant political changes in the past three years, Iran remains a serious violator of human rights across the range of AI’s mandate, including prisoners of conscience, torture/ill-treatment, cruel punishments and a high level of executions.

The case of Ahmad Batebi
Ahmad Batebi
Ahmad Batebi © Private

Ahmad Batebi, a student of film production attached to Tehran University, was 21 years old when he was arrested in July 1999 during clashes between students and the security forces in central Tehran. From the end of June 1999 until the day of his arrest Ahmad Batebi was, with the authorization of his university, producing a documentary about the dangers of drug addiction and social problems. When he heard about the student dormitory disturbances, he went to cover the incident and was subsequently arrested by a plainclothes militiaman who was present at the student demonstration. Ahmad Batebi has been in prison since then and was sentenced to death after a secret trial by the Revolutionary Court; his sentence was later reportedly commuted to 15 years’ imprisonment by the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In March 2000, he wrote an open letter from prison to the Head of the Judiciary describing his treatment in detention. Ahmad Batebi alleged that an official report available from the Law Enforcement Forces showed that he was condemned to flogging; he was blindfolded and the sentence was carried out in the same room where he was being held. He was later transferred by bus to another location where he was separated from the other people arrested. The following brief account of what happened to him during his interrogation and trial is according to his own testimony in the open letter.

Ahmad Batebi said in the open letter that soldiers bound his hands and secured them to plumbing pipes. They beat his head and abdominal area with soldiers’ shoes. They insisted that he sign a confession of the accusations made against him. The next day, he was thrown onto the floor, they stood on his neck and cut off all his hair and parts of his scalp causing it to bleed. They beat him so severely with their heavy shoes that he lost consciousness, and when he regained consciousness, they started their actions again, ordering him to write and sign a "confession". When he refused, they took him to another room, blindfolded him and secured his bound hands to the window bars.

During his interrogations, they threatened several times to execute Ahmad Batebi and to torture and rape his family members as well as imprison them for long terms. The investigators ordered him to confess to false allegations and under extreme duress, he signed a "confession" fearing that they would carry out their threats to him and his family.

As far as Amnesty International is aware, no official investigation has been undertaken to examine the above allegations of torture made by Ahmad Batebi.


E-mail, write or fax the Iranian authorities and call for a thorough, impartial investigation into the attack on the demonstration and to make public the details of allegations of torture against Ahmad Batebi and other students and for further investigations into police conduct on raids on student unions and further harassment, arrest and "disappearance" of activists.

The President, Islamic Republic of Iran
Hojjatoleslam val Moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: + 98 21 649 5880 (please ask for the fax to be forwarded to President Khatami)

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