TEHRAN - Iranian students want to meet United Nations' (UN) special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, during his forthcoming visit to Iran, they said on Monday.
In a letter to the UN Commission on Human Rights the students said: "Following a letter sent by the Office to Consolidate Unity (OCU - the main student reform movement) to the UN Secretary General on human rights violations in Iran, five new members of our group have been arrested.
"We have no information about their whereabouts, nor the charges levelled against them."
In an eight-page open letter the OCU last week issued "a call for help" to Secretary General Kofi Annan and denounced "these dark days" and what they called "political and social apartheid" in Iran.
"In view of the growing pressures on the student movement, the danger of the dissolution of the OCU, the possibility that universities will be closed and the students involved expelled, we the representatives of the Islamic Associations of Students demand a meeting with the special rapporteur of the UNCHR to discuss the issue of imprisoned students," Monday's letter said.
The Islamic Associations of Students is one of the groups that come under the umbrella of the OCU.
"We are writing to you to enumerate the long list of violations against the international declaration of human rights by the Iranian government and we ask the UN to look into them," it continued.
The OCU denounced the practice of torture, the murders of intellectuals and political opponents in 1998, political arrests - particularly those of students and journalists - as well as the banning of events to mark the fourth anniversary of bloody pro-democracy student riots on July 9.
Ligabo will hold meetings with senior officials of the Iranian government and judges during his visit, from July 17 to 27, and would also like to meet representatives of the media and the universities, a UN statement announcing his trip said.