Nov 16, 2006

UNPO Continues Appeal to Stop Executions of Ahwazi Arabs in Iran

As 11 Ahwazi-Arab activists face the imminent threat of execution by Iranian authorities, UNPO has continued to appeal for a commute of their sentences, and the return of open and fair trails to Iran. These calls have been echoed by a number of international institutions, politicians, and the international media.

The Hague, 16 November 2006 - UNPO remains deeply concerned about the fate of the 10 ethnic Ahwazi-Arab activists recently sentenced to death by Iranian Courts, as well as an eleventh activist also to be hanged, but without formal trial or sentencing.

The 10 men, Ali Motairi, Abdullah Solaimani, Abdulreza Sanawati (Zergani), Ghasem Salamat, Mohamad Chaab Pour, Abdulamir Farajullah Chaab, Alireza Asakreh, Majed Alboghubaish, Khalaf Khaziri, Malek Banitamim, were all found guilty of charges relating initially to an incident of terrorism, and later to Mohareb (enmity with God), in secret one-day trials which have received extensive international condemnation. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have indicated also a general concern with the fairness of any trail involving Ahwazi-Arabs in Iran.

In addition to having their trials conducted in secret, the defendants were not permitted to meet with their lawyers, several of whom have also been arrested following their complaints over the fairness of the proceedings. There are also reports suggesting that the defendants were tortured during detention, and forced to make confessions later broadcasted on Iranian television. It was the televised confession of the untried eleventh individual, Mr. Saeed Hamedan, which indicated he is also to be amongst the executed.

As international leaders consider the potential benefits of softening their stance and increasing cooperation with the Iranian Regime, UNPO is part of the growing number of politicians, international institutions, and members of civil society demanding Iran commute the death sentences of the 11 men, as well as cease entirely in their use of the death sentence as a means of punishing political activists.

UNPO has issued appeals to Philip Alston, the United Nations’ (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, and Mrs. Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO) has also issued appeals to several MEPs; Hon. Ms. Angelika Beer, Chairwoman of the Iran Delegation in the European Parliament; Hon. Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles, President of the European Parliament, Member of European Parliament (MEP); Elmar Brok, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Hélène Flautre; Paolo Casaca; and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne.

British and European Parliamentary members contacted by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), including Chris Bryant MP and Michael Gove MP, joined by Green Party MEPs Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert, have also called on UN Secretary General Mr. Annan, as well as a range of senior EU and UN leaders, to step in and demand Tehran commutes the death sentences.

Their calls will be echoed this weekend, when a number of Ahwazi and Azeri groups will be joined also by UNPO Member from Balochistan to protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London. International Media are also sure also to support the gathering, featuring a number of prominent articles, such as in; The Guardian ( UK) and The Daily Mail (UK).

UNPO remains deeply concerned about the imminent executions and the ongoing situation for Ahwazi Arabs in Iran, and will continue to appeal for:

- Iran to stop the execution of the 11 convicted men and grant fair trials to the 19 men convicted of the bombing;

- The Iranian government to cease its execution of Ahwaz Arabs for peaceful protest; and

- Iran to address the issue of unfair trials and extrajudicial and summary executions of the indigenous Ahwaz Arab people.

Related Links:

Appeal to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
Information about Protest in London
Article in The Guardian (UK)