Jan 10, 2007

UNPO Appeals for Halt to Execution of 7 Ahwazi Activists in Iran

UNPO has called for action to be taken by European Institutions, following the announcement that a further 7 Ahwazi Arab activists are to executed by Iranian authorities.

The Hague, 10 January 2007 – UNPO remains deeply concerned about the fate of 7 Ahwazi Arab activists recently sentenced to death by Iranian Courts.

On Monday 8 January 2007 the families of seven Ahwazi Arab men were informed by Iranian authorities that their men are to be executed within the next few days. The names of these men are: 

1. Ghasem Salami, 41, married with 6 children
2. Mohammad Lazem Kaabpour, 28, married with one child, student at Shushtar University
3. Abdolamir Farjolah Kaab, 26, married, student at Shushtar University
4. Alireza Asakereh, 24, from Maashur (Mahshahr)
5. Majad Albughbish, 30, from Maashur (Mahshahr)
6. Abdolreza Sanawati, 34, married, from Ahwaz City
7. Khalaf Dohrab Khanafereh, 34, married with one child, from Falahieh

This latest announcement is further evidence that a long, distressing, and brutal campaign, conducted by the Iranian regime against Ahwazi Arab activists, is continuing despite widespread international condemnation.

On Tuesday 19 December, 2006, the Khuzestan branch of the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported that Malek Banitamim, Alireza Asakreh, and Ali Matorizadeh had been executed for "waging war on God" in Ahwaz City.

On 13 November, 2006, the forced “confessions” of 11 Ahwazi Arabs were broadcast on Khuzestan TV. The men were sentenced to death following one-day secret trails. The international outrage that followed, including resolutions by the European Parliament and several national European Parliaments, was however successful in delaying their executions.

On 8 June, 2006, the Khuzestan Revolutionary Court announced that 35 Ahwazi Arabs were sentenced to death following a one-day trial conducted in the absence of both lawyers and witnesses. Two of the men sentenced to death, Nazem Bureihi and Abdolreza Nawaseri, were already serving prison sentences during the time of the attacks they were tried and sentenced for committing.

In March of 2006, two Ahwazi Arabs, Ali Afrawi (17) and Mehdi Nawaseri (20), were publicly hanged in Ahwaz City, also on charges relating to their “War on God.” Their forced “confessions” were also broadcast a day earlier on Khuzestan TV.

Although the Ahwazi Arab homeland in Iran's Khuzestan Province is one of the most oil-rich regions in the world, it continues to endure extreme levels of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. The trials and executions Ahwazi Arab activists are subjected to clearly qualify as arbitrary, and are intended to discourage any peaceful opposition to the discriminatory system under which they suffer.

Iran’s campaign against its religious minorities, as well as the nature of its political trials and extensive use of public executions as a weapon of fear, have been repeatedly condemned by the international community, including; the European Parliament, the United Nations General Assembly, and a large number of European Parliamentarians. 

UNPO remains deeply concerned by the routine execution of Iran’s dissidents, strongly condemns the use of public hangings, and has repeatedly called for international action to address the deteriorating human rights situation faced by the Ahwazi Arab population of Iran.

UNPO has therefore appealed to; Dr. Javier Solana, the Secretary-General/High Representative of the Council of the European Union; Mr. Pierre de Boissieu, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union; and Mr. Robert Cooper, Director-General of External Economic Relations and Politico-Military Affairs at the Council of the European Union, to:

- urge Iran to immediately halt the executions of the latest seven Ahwazi Arab activists sentenced to death;

- urge Iran to afford all Ahwazi Arab activists presently detained; free, fair, and open trails, in a manner consistent with international standards of justice;

- call upon the Iranian Government to cease in its use of public executions as a weapon of free and oppression;