May 17, 2012

Ahwazi: Six Members Currently Under Torture Risk

Amnesty International expresses fear for the possible non due process trial of the six members arrested a year ago for defending the Ahwazi minority. 

Below is an article published by Amnesty International:

Six members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority are due to go on trial in Iran on 20 May. The men were detained without charge for almost a year and all were arrested in connection with their activities on behalf of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority. It is feared they will not receive a fair trial and may be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

The six men, all from Khalafabad in Khuzestan province, south-west Iran, were arrested at their homes in February and March 2011 in advance of the sixth anniversary of widespread protests by Ahwazi Arabs in April 2005. Blogger Mohammad Ali Amouri, chemistry teacher Rahman Asakerehand teacher Hashem Sha’bani Amouri were arrested on 16 February. Teacher Hadi Rashidi (or Rashedi) was arrested on 28 February, and Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and his younger brother Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka were arrested in March.

The men are now held in Karoun prison in the city of Ahwaz, Khuzestan province. At least four of them were denied access to a lawyer for at least eight months after arrest. In or around February 2012, they were all charged in separate five-minute court sessions with the vaguely-worded offences of “enmity against God and corruption on earth" (moharebeh va ifsad fil-arz), “gathering and colluding against state security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. The charge of “enmity against God and corruption on earth” carries a possible death sentence. They are due to be tried before Branch 2 of the Dezful Revolutionary Court on 20 May 2012.

Mohammad Ali Amouri, who fled to Iraq in December 2007and was forcibly returned in January 2011, was reportedly tortured and otherwise ill-treated during his first seven months in detention. Hadi Rashidi was hospitalized after his arrest, apparently as a result of torture or other ill-treatment, and is said to be in poor health. According to their family, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka lost 10 kg and Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka experienced depression and memory loss as a result of torture or other ill-treatment.