Jan 09, 2007

Ahwazi: Iranian Regime to Execute 7 More Ahwazi-Arabs- AHRO Says

The Ahwaz Human Rights Organization recently issued a press release to condemn, the threat of execution of seven Ahwazi-Arabs by the Iranian regime.

Below is an abstract of an appeal released on January 8 2007, by the Ahwaz Human Rights Organization on the threat of execution of seven Ahwazi-Arabs by the Iranian regime:

Again, in a blatant defiance to the UN General Assembly, the European Parliament and international human rights organizations, Iran has began preparation to execute another 7 ethnic Iranian (Ahwazi) Arab opposition activists. Their names are as follows:

1. Ghasem Salami, 41, married with 6 children

2. Mohammad Lazem Kaabpour, 28, married with one child, student at Shushtar University

3. AbdolamirFarjolah Kaab, 26, married, student at Shushtar University

4. Alireza Asakereh, 24, single from Maashur (Mahshahr)

5. Majad Albughbish, 30, single from Maashur (Mahshahr)

6. Abdolreza Sanawati, 34, married from Ahwaz City

7. Khalaf Dohrab Khanafereh, 34, married with one child from Falahieh

The families of these men were informed on Monday, January 8, 2007 by Iranian authorities in Ahwaz that they will be executed within the next few days.

On Tuesday December 19, 2006, the Khuzestan branch of the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported that Malek Banitamim, Alireza Asakreh, and Ali Matorizadeh were executed for "waging war on God" in Ahwaz City. This was done one day after the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning Iran’s human rights violations.

On March of this year 2 other ethnic Ahwazi Arabs, Ali Afrawi-(age 17) and Mehdi Nawaseri (20 years old), were publicly hang in Ahwaz City for similar charges, after a TV broadcast of their “confession” was shown a day earlier on Khuzestan TV.

On November 13, 2006, the Iranian regime broadcast videos of forced confessions of 11 Ahwazi Arabs on Khuzestan TV but due to international outrage including unanimous condemnation by the European Parliament in a resolution on November 16, 2006, as well as a resolution by 48 British MPs and similar actions by other EU parliaments, the execution of the these men were delayed.

On November 9, Abbas Jaafari Dowlatabadi, head of Iran’s Judiciary in the southern province of Khuzistan, told the Islamic Republic News Agency that Iran’s Supreme Court has confirmed the execution sentence of at least 19 of the 35 Iranian Arabs sentenced to death by Ahwaz Revolutionary Court. 

On 8 June, 2006, Khuzestan Revolutionary Court announced that 35 indigenous Ahwazi Arabs (including 3 brothers) were sentenced to death following a one-day trial in absence of lawyers or witnesses. Two of these 35 men sentenced to death, Nazem Bureihi and Abdolreza Nawaseri, were already serving prison sentences for insurgency at the time of the bomb attacks for which the regime claims they were responsible for.  “One of the wonders of the Iranian Judiciary is that it can accuse a person of carrying out bombings while he’s in prison,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “That lays bare the arbitrariness of his conviction.”  

These men have been found guilty of allegedly bombing oil installations at Southwestern Iranian province of Khuzesatn (al-Ahwaz), homeland to 5 million Ahwazi-Arabs. All men are members of the persecuted Ahwazi community. The trials were deeply flawed, according to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other international and Iranian human rights organizations. All the evidence point to their innocence.

All these men were tortured into making false confessions. Their lawyers were not allowed to see them prior to their trial and they were given the prosecution case only hours before the start of the trial, which was held in secret. The lawyers for the condemned men ( Khalil Saeedi, Mansur Atashneh, Dr Abdulhasan Haidari, Jawad Tariri, Faisal Saeedi and Taheri Nasab), all Ahwazi-Arabs but one, have been arrested for complaining about the illegal and unjust nature of the men's trials. They have been charged with threatening national security.

Although Ahwazi-Arab homeland in Iran's Khuzestan province is one of the most oil-rich regions in the world and represents up to 90 per cent of Iran's oil production. Yet this community endures extreme levels of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Ahwazis are subjected to repression, racial discrimination and faced with land confiscation, forced displacement and forced assimilation.

The convictions are evidently arbitrary and are intended to collectively punish Ahwazi Arabs for opposing the system of apartheid that they are subjected to.

Peaceful opposition among Ahwazi Arabs to the Iranian regime's racist policies of ethnic cleansing has been brutally suppressed. Since April 15, 2005 the beginning of the Ahwazi Intifada (Uprising), over 25,000 Ahwazis were arrested, at least 131 were killed and over 150 were disappeared (believed to have been tortured and killed by Iranian security forces). Iranian authorities level accusations against the USA, Great Britain and Israel as the cause of Ahwazi demands for democracy, social and economic justice. Ethnic cleansing against Iranian-Arabs in Khuzestan has intensified since the mid-1990s, particularly following the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

We urge for an immediate action to pressure the Iranian government to commute these sentences. 

The full version of this appeal is available here