Iran has sentenced two award-winning students who have been under arrest for two years to 16 years in prison each, a rights group reported on Monday.
Ali Younesi and Amirhossein Moradi, two students from Tehran’s Sharif University, were each sentenced to 16 years in prison on charges of “corruption on earth, conspiracy against the regime, and propaganda against the regime,” the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a news site run by a group of Iranian human rights advocates, reported, citing a verdict issued by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
State news agency IRNA, using only the students’ initials, reported on Monday that they were each given 16 years in prison on the same charges reported by HRANA.
In its report, IRNA accused Younesi and Moradi of carrying out “terrorist operations in different parts of Tehran with guidance from” the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
Younesi and Moradi were arrested in April 2020 and have been in detention ever since. A judiciary spokesman accused the two at the time of cooperating with MEK and planning attacks inside Iran.
Younesi’s family reject the allegations and have described them as “ridiculous” and “fictional.”
Younesi won gold at the International Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad in 2018 in China, while Moradi won silver at Iran’s National Astronomy Olympiad in 2017.
Amnesty International said in November 2021 that agents from Iran’s ministry of intelligence “beat (Younesi and Moradi) and held them in prolonged solitary confinement in harsh conditions to extract forced confessions.”