Dec 08, 2011

Ahwazi: Detentions Continue

A Report on Ahwazi Arab youths detained in Khalafabad Town has highlighted the continuing discrimination against Arabs in Iran.

Below is a report by Ahwaz Human Rights Organization:

Khalafabad or Ramshir is a small town located almost in the middle of a triangle that is made of Ahwaz, Omidiyeh and Mahshahr cities.  The town’s population (with the inclusion of its subordinate villages) is in excess of 62,000 among which, according to the official figures, more than 70% is made of Arab ethnicity.

In his recent interview with the Mehr News Agency’s reporter, Mr. Abdolreza Ehsani Nia, the incumbent Governor of Khalafabad, maintains that: “with its oil production of 70,000 barrels per day, the town is rated third in the country for its oil reservoir after Ahwaz and Omidieh”. Despite the magnitude of its oil reserves, the income from the oil is misappropriated by the central government for developmental projects of northern and central cities while people of Khalafabad have to endure with the burdens of poverty, deprivation and severe unemployment rate and where the local population’s human dignity is compromised for being acutely denied of their bare dietary and also of their health care essentials.

Lack of economic, cultural and social development and government negligence of their problems is a common feature that the Khalafabad residents and other residents of Ahwaz region (south west Iran) are embroiled in. The Arab residents of this town, just like other Arab residents in other cities are even deprived of having a civil or cultural institution to look into their problems and rights. Most of the official positions and in particular the key responsibilities, are allocated to non-Arab citizens that are purposefully immigrated from northern and central cities to this region induced by government’s incentive oriented strategies, benefit dispensation and gratuitous financial support. Regarding this issue people of this town are made powerless for their role of having meaningful influence in making routine or major decisions that are directly relevant to their livelihood.

Despite these deprivations, adversities and more restriction of political climate in the country after reformation period, people’s problems have far deteriorated. The regime has introduced tight restrictions on any kind of cultural, civil or political activities and where public demands go unheeded. Recent days’ events are all indicative of the regime’s heightened fear of Arab people’s uprising for their just demands.  By making connection to the Arab Spring, the regime has intensified its range of oppressive measures in the form of detention, public execution of the Arab residents of Ahwaz and people of Khalafabad have also had to take the full brunt of the regimes aggressive practices.

As a result of the regime’s notoriously harsh practices, Khalafabad residents were not exempted from this process and from early 2011 till now a number of its educated and intellectual residents have been arrested. Some of these rearrests are as follows:  Habibollah Rashedi and his brother Hadi Rashedi, Rahman Asakereh, Mohammad Ali Amoori and his brother Amir Amoori, Hashem Shabani(Amoori) and his martyred uncle Shabani(Amoori), Ali Badri, Aghil Aghili and Sayed Bagher Alboushoukeh, whom were all arrested due to their political, civil, cultural or human rights activities. The regime has also prosecuted an Arab translator and reporter from Khalafabad named Mohammad Hamid who had activities in the media sector in Tehran and deprived him of his work and media activity.

After several months of detention these people are yet to be briefed regarding the reason for their detention and they are denied their rights to legal representation. Not knowing anything about their children’s condition, their families are really worried about them. Due to regime’s threats and pressures on detainees and their families there is no exact information about these people, but informed sources have said that they are imprisoned illegally and without having a fair trial in ministry of intelligence’s prisons in Ahwaz city and they are exposed to all sorts of extreme physical and mental torture and tension. 


Click here to download the full AHRO report including biographies of those detained