Dec 21, 2006

Ahwazi: Iran Begins Mass Execution, Defying World Opinion

In defiance of the international community, including UNPO, Iran has begun the campaign of executions of Ahwazi Arab opposition activists, BAFS reports.

Below is an article published by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society:

The Iranian regime has defied the UN General Assembly, the European Parliament and Iranian and international human rights organisations and has begun its campaign of mass executions of Ahwazi Arab opposition activists.

The Khuzestan branch of the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) has reported that three Ahwazi Arabs have been executed for "waging war on God". ISNA did not name the men and it is believed that the executions were carried out in prison. A further 11 Ahwazis are awaiting execution following trials that were condemned by the European Parliament in a unanimous resolution in November as well as 48 British MPs who signed an Early Day Motion.

The regime broadcast videos of forced confessions of 11 Ahwazi Arabs on Khuzestan TV in early November, but delayed the executions due to international outrage and municipal elections. Today's execution of the three men comes just two days after the results of the Ahwaz municipal and Assembly of Experts elections, which were affected by a mass boycott and the defeat of pro-Ahmadinejad supporters.

The men were convicted following one-day trials in closed sessions of the Revolutionary Court in Ahwaz, with little or no access to lawyers and after being tortured into giving confessions. In some cases, family members were held in custody to put pressure on the men to confess.

Ali Matourizadeh, a founding member of the Lejnat Al-Wefaq (Reconciliation Committee), an Arab group that won control of Ahwaz City Council in the 2003 municipal elections but has subsequently been banned, was among those sentenced to hang. His wife was taken into custody when eight months pregnant and gave birth to a girl called Salma while in prison in March. She was instructed by the regime to denounce and divorce her husband and change the baby's name to a Persian name, but she refused the regime's demands. Both mother and daughter remain in prison.