Aug 18, 2006

Ahwazi: Urgent Appeal: Syrian Regime Handed Over Four More Ahwazi-Arab Political Refugees to Iran

Executive Director of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organization Mr. Karim Abdian addressed an appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. António Guterres on the handing over of four Ahwazi-Arab political refugees to Iran by the Syrian regime

[NOTE by UNPO: 18 August 2006 - The UNHCR informs that contrary to what was stated by other sources, it has not received confirmation from Syria that Taher Ali Mazraa, Rasool Ali Mazra and Jamal Obaidawi have been deported to Iran. Meanwhile the whereabouts of these Ahwazi individuals remains unknown.]

AHRO, 17 August 2006 - Mr. Karim Abdian, Executive Director of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organization addressed an appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. António Guterres, on the handing over of four Ahwazi-Arab political refugees to Iran by the Syrian regime

Urgent Appeal

Syrian regime handed over four more Ahwazi-Arab political refugees to Iran

To: Mr. Mr. António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Dear High Commissioner,

On Thursday August 10, 2006 the Syrian Human Rights Committee reported that Syrian foreign ministry informed UNHCR office in Damascus that four more Ahwazi-Arab (ethnic Arabs of southwest Iran) were handed over to Iranian Authorities. Their names are as follow:

1. Falleh Abdullah al-Mansouri (60) a UNHCR mandate holder political refugee and a citizen of the Netherlands.

2. Taher Ali Mazraa (42), a UNHCR mandate holder political refugee awaiting relocation.

3. Rasool Ali Mazra (55) UNHCR mandate holder political refugee awaiting relocation.

4. Jamal Obaidawi (32) UNHCR mandate holder political refugee, student in Damascus University and awaiting resettlement to a 3rd country.

Iran and its ally Syria are violating the Geneva Convention on refugees by returning and threatening to return Ahwazi refugees registered with the UNHCR back to Iran. These refugees face arrest and likely torture and execution, according to Amnesty International. [i]

On May 11 2006, in Damascus, Syrian security forces arrested Mr. Saeed Awda al-Saki, another Ahwaz-Arab UNHCR mandate holder political refugee and three days later he was forcibly returned to Iran. He is now held incommunicado at an undisclosed place. Mr. Saki was en-route to Norway for resettlement, according to UNHCR Damascus Office. [ii]

Currently, there are about 50 other ethnic Ahwaz-Arab UNHCR-recognized political refugees and asylum seekers in Syria who may also be extradited to Iran. These refugees and their families live in constant fear of illegal deportation by the Syrian authorities.

The arrests and executions of Ahwazi political activists have been widely reported in recent months. In March, Ali Afrawi (17) and Mehdi Nawaseri (20) were publicly executed, while seven other political prisoners were executed in prisons in March and April. On July 25 2006, the Islamic Revolutionary Supreme Court in Tehran approved and ordered the execution of at least 16 out of 32 Ahwazi-Arabs human rights activists (named below) who are being sentenced to death or long time prison sentences. They were all tried in secret, without the presence of international observers. They are accused of being Mohareb or enemies of god, Destablizing the Country, Attempt to Overthrow the Government, Possession of Home Made Bombs and Sabotage of Oil Installations. However, no evidence has been presented in any one of these cases.

Their execution is imminent according to Iranian official news media. [iii]

1. Yahia Nasseri

2. Nazem Boraihi

3. Abdolemam Zaeri

4. Abdolzahar Hilichi

5. Hamza Sawaeri

6. Jafar Sawari

7. Reisan Sawari

8. Abdolreza Nawaseri

9. Ali Motirijejad

10. Abdullh Solymani

11. Mlik banitamimt

12. Abolamir Farjaolh Chaabi

13. Mohammad Chaabpour

14. Khalaf Khozairi (m)

15. Alireza Asakereh

16. Majed Albog hbaish

17. Ghasem Salamat

18. Abdolreza Sanawati (m)

19. Said Hamydan

20. Fahimeh Esmaili Badawi (f) *

21. Toameh Chaab

22. Nasser Farajolah Kia

23. Majid Mazaal

24. Jalil Moghadam

25. Mehdi Saad Nasab

26. Hoda Hedayati Rezaie (Hawashemi) (f)

27. Sharif Asei Nawaseri

28. Jalil Boraihi

29. Mohammad Sawari

30. Abdolreza Salman Delfi

31. Ali Helfi

32. Zamel Bawi


After the Ahwazi Intifada (uprising) of April 15, 20065, more than 25,000 Ahwazis were detained, at least 131 were executed and over 150 disappeared, believed to have been tortured and killed by Iranian security forces. Other measures of oppression such confiscation of Ahwazi Arab farmland, forced displacement, ethnic cleansing and ethnic restructuring have caused a massive influx of Ahwazi Arabs political refugees to neighboring countries such as Syria (one of the few countries that does not require visa of Iranian nationals).

In order to force the return of political refugees, the Iranian government is holding their families including young children hostage in prisons in Khuzestan (al-Ahwaz). Below are a few cases:

1. Masoumeh Kaabi (f) and her sons Imad (m), aged 4, she is the wife of political activists, Habib Nabgan. (Released and re-arrested several times).

2. Sograh Khudayrawi (f) and her son Zeidan (m) aged 4. Her husbands name is Khalaf Khudayrawi, who is currently being held at Sepidar Prison.

3. Sakina Naisi (f), mother of five and wife of Ahwazi opposition activist Ahman Naisi.

4. Hoda Hawashem (f) and her son Osameh (m), aged 2 and her other son Ahmad (m), aged 4 and wife of opposition activist, Habib Faraj-allah [iv].

5. Fahima Ismaili Badawi (f), wife of Ali Matourzadeh is founder of the reformist Hizb-i Vifaq (Unity Party), have been detained since February 28; Fahima gave birth to their daughter, Salma, in Sepidar Prison in Ahwaz in March.


We request that the Office of the UNHCR require that:

1. The Syrian and Iranian governments to respect the international humanitarian treaties and return these political refugees to counties of assigned resettlement.

2. Syrian government stops handing over Ahwazi political refugees to Iran.

3. We urge you to take immediate action to prevent the executions of Ahwazi refugees forcibly returned to Iran.


Karim Abdian, Ph.D

Executive Director,

Ahwaz Human Rights Organization