Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Victims and Witnesses

Mohammad Kazem Kuhi, General Director of the Tehran University Dorms, on the 1999 Dorm Attack Case

ISNA / Translation by Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
July 13, 2019
Web article

This article is being translated.

ABC Note: In the early morning hours of July 9, 1999, the day after student demonstrations to denounce the closing of the daily newspaper Salam, members of the Riot Guards, along with members of government supported militia in civilian clothes known as “Hezbollah’s Aides,” raided the dormitories of the University of Tehran and began battering and seriously injuring many students, some of whom were just waking up. The invaders then proceeded to savagely ransack the rooms and destroy or pilfer the students’ belongings.

The raid was apparently a reaction to the gathering of students to protest the closing of the Reformist daily journal Salam. The protests had flared up following the publication of a letter by Said Emami (one of the undersecretaries of the Ministry of Information who had been accused of complicity in the serial murder of the opponents and critics of the regime). The letter disclosed a government plan to tighten control over newspapers. An announcement posted on campus bulletin boards called on students to congregate in protest to the restrictions imposed on, and the closing of, dissident journals. Answering the call, several hundred students gathered in front of the campus gate and began to shout slogans in praise of freedom and condemnation of tyranny. The students continued their march from the campus area to an adjacent street and finally returned to their dormitories. Some of the students, however, noticing the presence of security forces and plain-clothes militia, remained in the street and, following a brief skirmish with the militia, returned to their dormitories at the request of the president of the university.

Later on, following the raid of the dormitories by the riot police and plain-clothes militia, a number of students, along with the University president were arrested and taken away. Denouncing the violent and destructive police raid on their dormitories, a few thousand of shocked and angry students continued their demonstrations for another day. According to a BBC report, nearly 20,000 students had participated in one of the street demonstrations. Protestors in Tabriz University were also brutally attacked.

Furthermore, according to the report of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations for the year 2000, nearly 1500 individuals were arrested over the course of these demonstrations in Tehran, and, on the basis of the available evidence, at least 8 persons were killed in the demonstrations and the campus raid. The authorities, however, confirmed the death of only one of the demonstrators by gunfire: Ezzatollah Ebrahimnejad.

On March 4, 2000, pursuant to the complaint lodged by the injured students, the trial of the personnel of the security forces who had been accused and indicted for the injuries suffered by a number of students in the campus incident commenced. The trial was conducted by Branch Seven of the Military Court of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The court dismissed the cases against Farhad Nazari, the commander of the uniformed soldiers and 17 plain-clothes security agents who had participated in the raid. Only a single conscript was convicted for the crime of stealing the electric shavers of some of the students. The court also ordered cash payment as compensation to the 34 students who had been severely beaten and some of whom had suffered broken hands, legs, jaws and other injuries during the raid. The compensation was to be determined according to the Islamic penal code for retribution. One of the students, Mohsen Jamali, was paid half of the legal compensation for the loss of his right eye.