Dec 12, 2016

Ahwazi: Environmental Activist and Journalist Arrested After Criticizing Diversion of Karoon River

Photo Courtesy of reza mohseni@Flickr

After participating in a demonstration against the diversion of the Karoon river, Ahwaz journalist Ms. Rahil Mosavi, as well as environmental activist Ms. Roqaya Jafari were detained on 8 December 2016. Ms Jafari had criticized a leaked letter which revealed plans to divert the Karoon river, thereby redirecting the water away from the regions of Ahwaz and Muhammerah, whose inhabitants already suffer from a severe lack of drinking water. In addition to that, the potential redirection is regarded as a death sentence to the ecosystem of the whole southwest region of Iran. Meanwhile, the Iranian intelligence agencies seek to intimidate and silence the public in order to carry on with the project.

Below an article published by AHRO:

During the demonstration against diversion of Karoon river, Iranian security forces arrested two activists in Muhammerah, the journalist Rahil Mosavi and environmental activist Roqaya Jafari who have participated in the demonstrations against the transfer of Karoon river. They have been transferred to the department of intelligence in the city and have not been released till now. The demonstrations were held in both Ahwaz and Muhammerah.

According to the reports received by AHRO from inside Ahwaz, Roqaya Jafari was arrested in her home by intelligence forces after the end of the demonstration last Thursday [8 December 2016].

Despite the pressures she faced from the intelligence department and the municipality concerning criticising Rohani’s letter about the water transfer, she participated in the action which resulted in forming a security file on Ms. Jafari and her arrest for 4 consecutive days by the intelligence services.

Ms. Rahil Mosavi on the other hand is a photographer and journalist and civil activist who was verbally insulted and pushed by the security forces who were present as she took photos of demonstration in Muhammerah. Her left arm was injured as security tried to take her camera and eventually she was pushed into their car by force and driven away.

Demonstrators in Ahwaz and Muhammerah criticised the leaked letter from Rouhani’s administration in which an order is given to transfer Karoon river to cities such as Yazd, Isfahan Kerman and Rafsanjan while the inhabitants of Ahwaz and Muhammerah and many other cities in the southwest region suffer from lack of water for drinking and agriculture.

In the same context, Iranian intelligence also called on many local civil and environmental activists for interrogation for organising and inviting people to demonstrate, Mr.Masoud Kanani is one of these environmental activists who has been accused of carrying foreign agendas, this is done in order to intimidate and silence the public.

Ahwaz human Rights Organisation condemns these arrests and calls for immediate release of the two activists and also condemns oppressing the peaceful civil actions and calls on human rights organisations to pressure Iran to uphold this water transfer project which is death sentence to the ecosystem of southwest region and invites the human rights defenders to speak up against the assaults of Iranian government and its security forces against the civilians.