On February 25, 2018, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry agents detained Parisa Rafiei, a University of Tehran student of photography and an activist, apparently in retaliation for her participation in a nationwide protest movement.
From late December 2017 to January 2018, protests over economic conditions and other issues broke out across Iran, including notable demonstrations on university campuses. Authorities detained Rafiei on February 25 in connection with her alleged participation in the protests. Officials interrogated Rafiei for three weeks without legal counsel. On March 19, Rafiei was released on bail.
On September 3, the Tehran Revolutionary Court convicted and sentenced Rafie to seven years imprisonment on charges of assembly and collusion against national security, propaganda against the state, and disturbing public order.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about arbitrary imprisonment and prosecution of a student in apparent retaliation for peaceful student expression. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from detentions and prosecutions intended to restrict or retaliate against the peaceful exercise of internationally recognized rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.