Feb 20, 2018

Ahwazi: Iranian Security Forces Detain Family to Coerce Surrender

Reza Simsar Shahitat, an Ahwaz Arab citizen, is wanted by Iranian intelligence for converting from Shia to Sunni Islam. The authorities decided to arrest 10 of his relatives, including children and women, in order to have them to disclose his whereabouts. The security forces have announced that the arrested family will stay in custody until Reza Simsar Shahitat surrenders, risking to be subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment while being taken hostage. UNPO condemns these discriminatory extrajudicial arrests directed towards the Ahwazi community.

The following article was published by Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation

During the week of the 12th February, Iranian security forces have captured 10 members of Ahwazi Arab family, including wife and children of Abdul-Amir Simsar (Shahitat) and the wife and children of Said Simsar (Shahitat) and their brother Qasem. According to the testimonies, the security forces told them that the family will be released if Reza the son of Said surrender himself to the authorities. Other family members informed Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation that on February 12, 2018, the Iranian border control arrested Abdul-Amir Simsar Shahitat's wife and children in the Shalamcheh (Iran-Iraq) border region and transferred them to an undisclosed location.

A day later, the whole family of Said Simsar were arrested at the Tehran International Imam Khomeini Airport.

Also on 15 February, 2018 security forced broken into the house of Said Simsar, arresting his brother “Ghasem Simsar” and transferred him to an undisclosed location. “Reza” another family member is currently sought by Ahwaz security forces and have forced the family to disclose his whereabouts.

The arrests were due to the fact that one of family member, Reza Simsar Shahitat, son of Qasim, is wanted by Iranian intelligence on charges of changing his religion (Shia to Sunni), and the Ahwaz intelligence office is demanding that he, surrender himself or his family disclosed his places or they will stay in the custody.

The names of detained family members are as follow:

Said Simsar’s children and wife :1- Farideh- 34 years old 2-Ahmad- 16 years old 3-Zeinab- 12 years old 4- Tareq- 7 years old 5-Osman- 4 years old

Abdul-Amir Simsar’s wife and children 1-Wedad Sardah - 40 years old 2-Masoumeh- 21 years old 3-Mohammad- 16 years old 4-Sahereh- 12 years old

Ghasem Simsar Shehitat, the older brother of Abdul-Amir Simsar is a 55 year-old father and he has been arrested for the activities of his son Reza. Until this moment there are no news about his whereabouts.

The Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation strongly condemns these extrajudicial arrests, in particular the arrest and hostage-taking of children and women, and condemns the actions of security forces within the framework of suppressing Ahwazi Arabs.

This approach to families is in contradiction with both domestic laws and international human rights  and the Ahwaz human rights organization calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the women and children and warns the International community from the possibility of torture of the detainees.

 Photo courtesy of Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation