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Relative Of Hanged Ahwazis Calls for International Prosecution Of Judges

A relative of two executed Ahwazi Arabs is calling on the international community to issue a warrant for the arrest of two Iranian judge...

Baby Salma: the world's youngest political prisoner, held in Iran

Baby Salma: the world's youngest political prisoner, held in Iran

Ahwazi human rights groups are campaigning for the release of the world's youngest political prisoner, Salma, who was born in an Iranian prison on 25 March 2006.

Fahima Ismail Badawi (26), pictured, gave birth to Salma after she was taken into custody by the Iranian authorities. Fahima is a teacher from the Kot Abdoudalla district and is the wife of Ali Madouri-Zadeh, an Ahwazi opposition activist and founding member of Hizb al-Wifaq (National Party) who is in prison at an unknown location. She graduated in mathematics from Dezful University in 2001. She was arrested on 28 February has not been charged with any crime.

The regime has reportedly demanded Fahima pay three billion rials (US$330,000), divorce her husband and change the baby's name, which is deemed too Arabic by the authorities. In an attempt to psychologically torture Fahima, her captors have also told her that her husband has disowned her and the baby, does not care if they are killed and claims she is suffering from mental illness.

Fahima and Salma are just two Ahwazi hostages taken by the Iranian regime. Others include Masouma Kaabi and her four year old son Aimad, Hoda Hawashem and her two sons Ahmad (4) and Osameh (2), Soghra Khudayrawi and her son Zeidan (4), and Sakina Naisi who was pregnant when she was arrested but has since had an abortion due to complications caused by her treatment in prison. Click here for more information.

These are the wives and sons of Ahwazis who have opposed the political activists who oppose the regime. The men have fled the country, fearing for their lives following a series of executions and killings by the regime. They have been pursued by regime agents who have threatened them and the lives of the families.

Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, said: "Salma is the world's youngest political prisoner, held in custody since birth. She is a symbol of the Ahwazi people and their suffering under this cruel and racist regime.

"At little more than a month old, Salma has done nothing to deserve this punishment and neither has her mother. Fahima's family cannot afford the ransom demanded for the release of mother and child and Fahima has no legal obligation to divorce her husband or change Salma's name. This is an act of hostage taking, an act of terrorism.

"The international community must intervene to release the baby political prisoners taken hostage by the regime."
The threat of Tehran in Ahwaz

The threat of Tehran in Ahwaz

Leading human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell writes for The Guardian website on the persecution of the Ahwazi people by the Iranian regime, calling it a crime against humanity. Click here for the original article.



One year ago this month, the streets of the Ahwaz region of south-western Iran flowed with the blood of the country's persecuted Ahwazi Arab minority.

Faced with mass protests against Tehran's policy of ethnic cleansing, the Iranian security forces responded with savage brutality, killing over 160 civilians, wounding at least 500 more, and arresting 450-plus people.

Since the first days of the Ahwazi intifada in April 2005, many hundreds, possibly thousands, more Ahwazis have been arrested and detained without trial (the exact numbers are unknown because Tehran refuses to say how many are being held). A high proportion of detainees show signs of torture. Several Ahwazi pro-democracy activists have been framed and executed after show trials.

Tehran's latest evil ploy is to arrest the children and wives of Ahwazi political dissidents and hold them hostage. Kids as young as two years old are being held in prison as pawns, to force their fathers to surrender to the Iranian authorities.

The crushing of democracy and human rights in al-Ahwaz includes the suppression of political parties, newspapers and student groups. The arrest, jailing and torture of Ahwazi Arab activists is the norm.

What has been the response of the international community? Silence.

The west is preoccupied with Iran's nuclear programme, to the neglect of its persecuted people. There is no concern about the fate of the Ahwazis or the many other victims of Tehran's clerical fascist regime: Sunni Muslims, Kurds, trade unionists, socialists, women, gay people and many more.

George Bush and Tony Blair care only about whether Iran might eventually manufacture nuclear weapons and potentially threaten Israel or the west. They care not a jot about Tehran's ethnic, political and sexual repression of its own people.

The anti-war movement is not much better. It, too, ignores the suffering of the Ahwazis and all the other victims of Iran's theocratic dictatorship. Like many appeasers of tyranny throughout history, it puts peace before justice, even though peace and justice are not mutually exclusive. Some of us find no difficulty in opposing both a US attack on Iran and supporting the just struggles of the Ahwazis and other oppressed peoples of Iran.

Sadly, this is not the way much of the left sees it. There is no leftwing solidarity campaign to support the Iranian movements for democracy, human rights and social justice; even though the brutalities of the ayatollahs rival the worst excesses of Pinochet's Chile and South African apartheid.

What is happening to the Ahwazi Arabs is an indictment of the international community. Where is the concern of the UK, EU, US and UN about the wholesale forced removal of Ahwazis from their own lands, and their involuntary dispersal and relocation in distant, often barren regions of Iran?

Tehran is pursuing a policy that is tantamount to the "ethnic cleansing" of the Ahwazi Arab nation. This is a crime against humanity under international law.

The "ethnic cleansing" of the Ahwazis should come as no surprise. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a racist state. It is ruled by Persian chauvinists and neo-imperialists who brutally suppress their own minority nationalities, denying them the right to self-determination. The Ahwazis are not the only victims. Iran is also persecuting its Kurdish, Turkmen and Balochi minorities.

Despite living in the region of Iran richest in oil, the Ahwazi Arab people are victims of a cruel, deliberate impoverishment by the Iranian regime. All the wealth is being squeezed out. Little is spent in the region. The result? Standards of housing, education and healthcare in the south-west are way, way below the Iranian average.

For the oppressed people of Iran, the solution is clear. The Islamist dictatorship in Tehran must be overthrown; not by western invasion, but through a "people power" democratic revolution from below.

The Ahwazi people seek a democratic, secular state, with self-government for themselves and for all the other suppressed ethnic minorities of Iran. They deserve our support and solidarity, as do all Iranians struggling for human rights and social justice.
THE TRUE FACE OF IRANIAN TYRANNY EUROPE REFUSES TO SEE

THE TRUE FACE OF IRANIAN TYRANNY EUROPE REFUSES TO SEE

While the West worries about Iran's laboratory experiments in nuclear fission, the Arabs of Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan) are dying in their hundreds in a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Tehran regime.

Below are the pictures of Iranian brutality that the global media refuses to show the world. These are pictures of Kamal Daghaghleh who was shot dead on March 2nd in a demonstration in Ahwaz's Hey Althowra district following the execution of Ali Afrawi and Mehdi Nawaseri (click here for report) - a crime that the European Commission has refused to condemn.





Kamal was not armed, he posed no security threat. His crime was to raise his voice against Iranian fascism. For this act, he paid with his life, his body mutilated by Baseeji terrorists employed by Tehran.

Meanwhile, the wives and sons of Ahwazi pro-democracy activists have been kidnapped by the regime, imprisoned and subject to torture. Two pregnant women have been tortured and one was forced to have an abortion due to her treatment at the hands of her jailers. Children as young as two years old are being treated as terrorist suspects by the Iranian regime due to their fathers' peaceful opposition to tyranny (click here for more information). However, the European Commission has failed to respond to appeals and evidence of Iran's blatant contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), said: "The European Commission - particularly Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner - is reluctant to condemn Iran's murderous acts against Ahwazis. European governments wish to restrict the diplomatic discourse on Iran to the nuclear programme. This is a diversion from the greater problem of Iranian terrorism which is waged against both the peoples of Iran - particularly ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, women and trade unionists - and those outside Iran.

"No matter how many human rights reports, appeals, demonstrations and documentary evidence produced to show that ethnic cleansing is taking place in Iran, the European Commission turns a blind eye. Our modest demand for an EU fact-finding mission to Iran has gone unheeded.

"We support peaceful means to resolve the crisis in Al-Ahwaz, but the longer the European Commission ignores the problem, the sooner the crisis will develop into an uncontrollable insurgency. This will have major implications for regional security and world oil supplies as the Ahwazi homeland produces 10 per cent of OPEC oil output. Sooner or later, Europe will be affected by the Ahwazi intifada.

"We want Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and other European leaders to look at the mutilated face of Kamal Daghaghleh, an innocent man involved in a peaceful protest gunned down in cold blood by Iranian terrorists. And we want answers and solutions, not more rhetoric and denial."

Link: Iran's brutality exposed in shocking photos

Please note: reproduction of photographs from this website is permitted for non-profit purposes, but please remember to credit British Ahwazi Friendship Society.
Rights Activist Peter Tatchell Joins Ahwazi Protest in London

Rights Activist Peter Tatchell Joins Ahwazi Protest in London

One of Britain's leading human rights activists, Peter Tatchell, joined Ahwazi Arabs in a protest against the Iranian regime outside the Houses of Parliament on Friday.


Photo: Peter Tatchell with Ahwazi demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in London

London's Metropolitan Police gave their permission for the demonstration by Ahwazi Arabs, despite new laws restricting protest in Parliament Square and Whitehall, indicating that the British authorities believe the Ahwazis are law-abiding and peaceful.

The protests marked the 81st anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Al-Ahwaz or Arabistan (Khuzestan) by Iran. Al-Ahwaz was an autonomous Arab emirate recognised by Iran's Qajar dynasty and the British government until it was over-run by forces loyal to Reza Pahlavi on 21 April 1925. The occupation was backed by the British, who believed a strong centralised Iranian state was necessary to guard against the influence of Russian Bolshevism in the Middle East.

Although their land is rich in oil, fertile land and water resources, the Ahwazi Arabs have endured increasing hardship and persecution under the Pahlavi dynasty and later the Islamic Republic.

In April 2005, exactly 80 years after the invasion of Al-Ahwaz, Ahwazi Arabs staged an uprising or intifada against the regime to protest against ethnic persecution, forced displacement and human rights abuses. The security forces temporarily lost control over large parts of the southwestern province. Since then, thousands of Ahwazis have been incarcerated and hundreds have been killed by the regime as it seeks to reassert power over the region.

On the first anniversary of the 2005 uprising, Peter Tatchell said: "As a gay and human rights campaigner, and as a member of the Green Party of England and Wales, I express my solidarity with the freedom struggle of the Ahwazi Arab people.

"Human rights are universal and indivisible. Wherever there is injustice and oppression, people have a right to rebel. It is the duty of all people everywhere to stand together, united in solidarity against all oppression.

"Iran is a racist state, with a covert agenda for the ethnic cleansing of the Ahwazi Arab nation. This is a crime against humanity under international law.

"The massacres, arrests, jailings, tortures and executions of Ahwazi Arabs are a blot on the conscience of the world.

"Despite living in the region of Iran richest in oil, the Ahwazi Arab people are victims of a cruel, deliberate impoverishment by the Iranian regime.

"This monstrous injustice must end. The tyrannical clerical dictatorship in Tehran must go, and be replaced by a democratic, secular state that ensures human rights and self-government for the Ahwazi Arab people - and freedom for all the ethnic, sexual, religious and cultural minorities of Iran." (click here for statement)


Photo: Peter Tatchell addresses the demonstration


Photo: Peter Tatchell giving his speech, opposite the Houses of Parliament


Photo: Peter Tatchell calls for an end to the ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs


Photo: Ahwazis outside Britain's Parliament building


Photo: Kurds fly their flag alongside the Ahwazi flag in a show of solidarity


Photo: Ahwazis demonstrating for the release of Ahwazi women and children being held in custody in Iran


Photo: An Ahwazi boy showing solidarity for Ahwazi children currently in prison in Iran


Photo: An Ahwazi girl calls for the release of Ahwazi children


Photo: Protestors condemn fascism and racism in Iran


Photo: The demonstration was supported by a number of Ahwazi political parties, as well as ethnic Kurds and Persians from Iran

These pictures may be reproduced for non-profit purposes provided they credit the British Ahwazi Friendship Society

Link: Ahwazis demonstrate outside the European Commission offices in London
Al-Jafaari expells Ahwazi Arabs from Iraq

Al-Jafaari expells Ahwazi Arabs from Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari is ordering the expulsion of Ahwazi Arab refugees, according to the el-Fekr-el-Eslami website.

Some 2,500-3,000 Ahwazi Arabs in Iraq are registered with the UNHCR as refugees, most of whom fled the fighting in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). Al-Jafaari has reportedly ordered the their expulsion from the Iraqi provinces of Basra and al-Ammarah, under the orders of the Iranian regime. El-Fekr-el-Eslami website says the refugees will be handed over to the Iranian authorities.

Many Ahwazi Arab Sunnis have already fled Basra and al-Ammarah for Sunni areas of Iraq, including Fallujah, Morsel and Diali, to escape Iranian-backed Shia militias. Last year, the UNHCR raised concerns over the expulsion of Ahwazi refugees from Basra following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein (click here for report). Both Shia and Sunni Ahwazi refugees have expressed concern that they will be imprisoned or even executed on their arrival in Iran.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Al-Zaman daily newspaper has quoted Basra's director of education as stating that children of Ahwazi Arab descent are being expelled from Iraqi schools and universities.

The expulsions follow the kidnapping and murder of Ahwazi political leader Ra'ad De'ayer Al-Bestan Banitorfi, reportedly by Iraqi intelligence and on the orders of Iraq's Ministry of the Interior (click here for report).

Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), said: "The Iraqi government is reneging on its commitments under the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. According to the UNHCR, those Ahwazis who have tried to resettle in Iran following the Iraq War have returned to Iraq due to the situation in Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan). Even the unstable and hostile situation in Iraq is preferable to Al-Ahwaz, where the Iranian regime is carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs.

"The Iraqi government is effectively acting as Iran's henchmen in the Middle East and the Shia areas are under Tehran's de facto control. The Iranian-sponsored Iraqi parties in government are willing to break the law to serve their masters in Tehran and refugees - the most vulnerable people in the Middle East - are paying the price.

"Ahwazis are not the only victims of Iraq's contravention of Geneva Conventions. Palestinian refugees are also being purged from Iraq. It is time for Arab solidarity to counter the menace of encroaching Iranian power in the Middle East. Instead, we find that the UAE and Kuwait are signing security pacts with Iran, which could result in the expulsion or imprisonment of Ahwazi Arab opposition activists in these countries. It seems that every Arab and European leader is falling to their knees in front of President Ahmadinejad to appease the fascist government in Tehran."
Intifada anniversary protests against the Iranian regime

Intifada anniversary protests against the Iranian regime

The Al-Takat Party of Al-ahwaz demonstrated peacefully on Saturday to commemorate the first anniversary of the April 2005 intifada. More than 150 Ahwazis participated in the protest in Al-Grane (Shiban area), which quickly spread to the Hay Al-Thora and Hay Al-Malashya districts.

The protestors flew the UN flag alongside the Ahwazi flag to appeal for UN involvement to end ethnic cleansing. State security forces broke up the demonstrations. They also carried a banner with the letters "UNPO", referring to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation which has been lobbying on behalf of the Ahwazi rights at an international level.

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has obtained a video clip of the demonstration in Al-Grane - right-click here and save to view the clip.

Hamidiya city also saw a demonstration by Ahwazis, who reportedly clashed with security forces and set light to government buildings and the Saderat Bank. BAFS has received a report of one unconfirmed death during the unrest.
Iran may call on Sistani to mediate in Ahwaz

Iran may call on Sistani to mediate in Ahwaz

The Iranian regime is considering bringing the Iraq-based Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husayni Sistani to mediate with Ahwazi Arabs to bring the uprising in Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan) to an end.

Reports from Ahwaz received by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) indicate that the regime wants to involve Iraqi Arab Shia leaders in negotiating a compromise, which could including the dismissal of General Hayat-Moghaddam as Governor of Khuzestan. Hayat-Moghaddam's hardline response to the uprising has included the shooting of unarmed Arabs holding cultural demonstrations marking the Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha religious festivals. His actions have inflamed Ahwazi Arab hostility to Iranian rule.

The regime has attempted dialogue with Ahwazi Arabs through Khuzestan Majlis member Nasser Sudani and former defence minister Ali Shamkhani, both of whom are ethnic Arabs (click here for report and video). However, the dialogue has foundered as the regime is unwilling to negotiate an end to land confiscation and the release of political prisoners, including pregnant women and children as young as two years old.

The Islamic Republic is now seeking to use Arab Shi'ite religious figures. This mirrors the tactic followed shortly after the revolution when local Ahwazi cleric Sheikh Karami succeeded in negotiating an end to an Arab rebellion in the province.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "Our source in Ahwaz is very reliable. The regime appears to be running a carrot and stick approach to the Ahwazi uprising. The stick is the imprisonment of thousands of men, women and children and a systematic programme of executions, designed to instill fear. The carrot is being dangled in front of Ahwazi community leaders in an effort to co-opt them, with the offer of money and increased influence. The regime is tackling the issue on both the tribal and religious fronts, but its efforts display a complete lack of understanding of the opposition movement which is rooted in injustices that remain unaddressed.

"In the past few weeks, the government has been working hard to co-opt some tribal leaders. These efforts have largely failed, with many tribal figures incensed about the treatment of Ahwazi Arabs, in particular the sons of the moderate tribal leader Hajj Salem Bawi who are facing the death penalty for allegedly distributing seditious literature. Even if some tribal leaders have been won around, it could never have been enough to quell the rebellion. Tribal leadership does not necessarily mean political leadership. Significant parts of the Ahwazi population distrust tribal leaders or believe them incapable of representing their interests while they are ruled by a regime intent on ethnic cleansing Arabs from their homeland.

"Now the authorities are trying to win over the local Arab clergy by involving Sistani. It is unlikely to work as most of the Ahwazi opposition is rejecting the Iranian system of government, not just government policies. This includes the rejection of rule by the mullahs. No flattery by Ayatollah Sistani - who wants to turn Iraq into another Iran - is likely to allay the fears the Ahwazis have over their future and their political protests against oppression. The religious establishment believes that the Arabs will forever remain loyal to them, no matter the injustices perpetuated by the 'politicians'. Yet, pictures of Khomeini have been burned in the streets of Ahwaz and Ahwazi flags have been raised in demonstrations. Iran's leaders won't accept that Shi'ism is not enough to rally Iranians behind the religious establishment."
Ethnic Azeri solidarity with Ahwazi Arabs

Ethnic Azeri solidarity with Ahwazi Arabs

The Federal Democratic Movement of Azerbaijan (FDMA), a pro-federalist party representing Iran's Azeri community, sent a letter of solidarity to the Ahwazi Arabs demonstrating in Brussels on Saturday.

Ahwazi groups from around Europe gathered outside the European Parliament to draw attention to human rights abuses in Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan), including the killing of unarmed demonstrators, the imprisonment and torture of Ahwazi children and pregnant women related to opposition activists and the government's land confiscation programme. The protest marked the first anniversary of the Ahwazi intifada against the Iranian regime.

The FDMA said it stood with "our Arab compatriots in their struggle for a just cause, in proclaiming of their denied political and cultural identity." It attacked the "systematic political, cultural and economic oppression by the successive governments in power in our country" and the "deliberate dislocation of indigenous Arabs, cultural assimilation and expulsion of them from their lands by subtle methods or direct coercion." It added that it stood "shoulder to shoulder" with Ahwazis campaigning for freedom, equality, democracy and cultural oppression and pledged its "political and moral support for a common struggle for a democratic and federative Iran, the common country and fatherland of all nationalities in Iran."

The FDMA is a member of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI), which also includes the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz (DSPA).

Links
Federal Democratic Movement of Azerbaijan
Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran
Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz
Ahwazi politician assassinated in Iraq by Iranian death squad

Ahwazi politician assassinated in Iraq by Iranian death squad

An Ahwazi Arab politician living in exile in Iraq has been murdered after he was kidnapped in Basra, where he and his family live.

Ra'ad De'ayer Al-Bestan Banitorfi was kidnapped on 9 April and four days later his mutilated body was found. It is believed that he was tortured to death. Reports from Iraq suggest the kidnapping and assassination was carried out by militias under the influence of Iraq's Interior Ministry and at the behest of the Iranian regime. Relatives say that Al-Bestan had been followed by Iraqi intelligence officials for weeks. They fear his close family are at risk and they have no financial means to support themselves.

Several Ahwazi groups have condemned the assassination of Al-Bestan, whose father was killed by the monarchist regime in the 1970s. The killing came at the same time as Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr admitted there were sectarian death squads present in Iraq, but although many wore uniforms, they were not under the ministry's control.

Last year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees highlighted the problems facing exiled Ahwazi Arabs in Iraq. It says some 2,500 Ahwazi refugees were ordered to leave their homes by Iraqi militias and are now camped out in the desert or are occupying derelict buildings (click here for report). Palestinian refugees are also affected by death squad activity, with 88 refugees currently camped at Iraq's border with Jordan after a series of killings (click here for Amnesty International's report). In 2005 the Minister of Displacement and Migration is reported to have said that Palestinians were not welcome in Iraq and should leave the country, according to Amnesty.

Nasser Bani-Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), said: "The Iraqi administration is failing in its obligation to protect refugees under international law. Dominated by parties that were bankrolled by Tehran, the administration is permitting, if not encouraging, the assassination of political dissidents from foreign countries by armed militias. There has never been any suggestion that Al-Bestan broke Iraqi laws. If there were any such allegations, then he should have been given a free and fair trial. The real reason for Al-Bestan's assassination is that Iran wanted him dead and sent its Iraqi henchmen to kill him, probably with the full knowledge of the Basra authorities.

"We are concerned about Iran's growing influence in the region. Earlier this year, Kuwait and Iran agreed a security deal on regional security that could have implications for Kuwait's large Ahwazi Arab population, where Ahwazi opposition groups are active. Last year, the Syrian authorities arrested and later released Ahwazi activists, apparently on the orders of the Iranian authorities. Iran has also supported Shi'ite extremists in Bahrain, which are seeking to overthrow the island's monarchy and could be used to carry out assassinations.

"There are no safe places for Ahwazi political refugees in the Middle East due to growing Iranian influence. We appeal to the governments of the European Union to allow Ahwazi refugees to seek asylum in Europe, even if they have travelled through Kuwait, Iraq, Syria and Bahrain before arriving. These countries are no longer safe for Ahwazi Arabs to claim asylum. We hope that Ahwazi asylum applications will be met with sympathy by authorities in Europe."
Ahwazis say "no more" to Iranian oppression on intifada anniversary

Ahwazis say "no more" to Iranian oppression on intifada anniversary

This is a joint statement by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, the Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation and the Ahwaz Studies Centre on the anniversary of the 15 April 2005 Ahwazi Arab uprising against the Iranian regime:

Today marks the first anniversary of the Ahwazi intifada against the Iranian government.

Today we remember the killing of hundreds of men, women and children; innocent people killed because they are Arab; killed by one of the world's worst human rights abusers - the Iranian regime.

Today we remember the babies who were kidnapped and are being held in prison by the Iranian regime: four year old Aimad Nabgan, four year old Ahmad Faraj-Allah, two year old Osameh Faraj-Allah (pictured, left) and four year old Zeidan Khudayrawi. We remember their mothers Masouma Kaabi, Hoda Hawashem and Soghra Khudayrawi who are in prison with them. These are the sons and wives of those who dared to raise a voice against the tyranny of Tehran. We also remember the many other men, women and children who the Iranian regime has disappeared, who are being held in torture chambers waiting for their deaths. Kidnapping and murder are the tactics of an Iranian government which stops at nothing to oppress and brutalise the Ahwazi Arabs.

This is a situation the Ahwazi Arabs have endured since their homeland, Al-Ahwaz, was over-run by Iranian forces in 1925. For more than 80 years, the Ahwazi Arabs have been subjected to ethnic cleansing, land confiscation, state terrorism and higher and higher levels of poverty. For more than 80 years, the Ahwazi Arabs have suffered in silence under Iranian occupation, suffered while the world closed its eyes and ears to the voice of the Ahwazi.

The Ahwazis are a peaceful people. But they are also a dignified people. When their women and children are kidnapped, when their sons are murdered in the streets, when the Karoon River flows with Ahwazi Arab blood, the Ahwazis have a right to stand up against this injustice and they have a right to determine their own destinies. The Ahwazis have a right to say "no more". On 15 April 2005, the Ahwazis said "no more" and protested in the streets of their homeland. More than 160 were killed in cold blood by the regime - and the killings continue to this day.

We call on the European Union to support the Ahwazis' right to say "no more" to oppression. We call on the European Union to condemn the imprisonment and murder of innocent men, women and children. We call on the European Union to try to bring an end to ethnic cleansing in Al-Ahwaz and to make this issue central to its relations with Iran. We call for international solidarity with the oppressed Ahwazi Arabs on the first anniversary of the Ahwazi intifada.

Ahwazi groups based in Europe will be holding a demonstration outside the European Parliament in Brussels on 15 April at 12 noon. Click here for more information.
Messages of Solidarity for Ahwazis for Intifada Anniversary

Messages of Solidarity for Ahwazis for Intifada Anniversary

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has received the following messages of solidarity from Portuguese Socialist MEP Paulo Casaca, who heads the European Parliament's delegation to NATO, and the prominent British human rights activist and Green Party member Peter Tatchell ahead of the anniversary of last year's 15 April Ahwazi Arab uprising in Iran.

Paulo Casaca

It has been with a deep revulsion that I have been receiving the sad news of the brutal and criminal repression of the ethnic Arab minority in Iran, most specially, the attack on the families of dissident political activists.

I would ask you to convey to the families and closest friends of those who are murdered, of those who see their wives and children been dragged to prison and torture, my full solidarity.

In this occasion, I would like to convey to you my full solidarity to the struggle of the democratic Ahwazi Resistance against this barbaric regime that in the name of religion and holy values practices the most vile and sordid acts.

Link: Paulo Casaca MEP

Peter Tatchell

As a gay and human rights campaigner, and as a member of the Green Party of England and Wales, I express my solidarity with the freedom struggle of the Ahwazi Arab people.

Human rights are universal and indivisible. Wherever there is injustice and oppression, people have a right to rebel. It is the duty of all people everywhere to stand together, united in solidarity against oppression.

Iran is a racist state, with a covert agenda for the ethnic cleansing of the Ahwazi Arab nation. This is a crime against humanity under international law.

The massacres, arrests, jailing, tortures and executions of Ahwazi Arabs are a blot on the conscience of the world.

Despite living in the region of Iran richest in oil, the Ahwazi Arab people are victims of a cruel, deliberate impoverishment by the Iranian regime.

This monstrous injustice must end. The tyrannical clerical dictatorship in Tehran must go, and be replaced by a democratic, secular state that ensures human rights and self-government for the Ahwazi Arab people and freedom for all ethnic, sexual, religious and cultural minorities.

Link: Peter Tatchell

Ahwazi groups based in Europe will be holding a demonstration outside the European Parliament in Brussels on 15 April at 12 noon. Click here for more information.
Amnesty Urges Iran Restraint on Intifada Anniversary

Amnesty Urges Iran Restraint on Intifada Anniversary

Amnesty International has called on the Iranian government to show restraint in policing any demonstrations marking the anniversary of the Ahwazi Arab intifada in Ahwaz City, southwest Iran.

April 15th became known as "Black Friday" and was followed by days of unrest, in which more than 160 Arab civilians were killed by security forces. During the uprising, the regime lost control over parts of Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan), an Arab homeland. Since then, security forces including the paramilitary Baseej have led a brutal crack-down on dissent. The regime has attempted to force Ahwazi opposition activists to surrender by kidnapping their wives and young children. The men are accused of "waging war on God", which carries the death penalty.

Over the past year, cultural and religious gatherings and peaceful demonstrations have been met by violent force from Iranian forces who used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse people. Recent reports on Radio Farda suggest that hundreds have been killed over the past year in lynchings and executions by the regime and around 28,000 Ahwazi Arabs have been arrested. Amnesty International says it has received the names of at least 448 Ahwazi Arabs who are reported to have been arrested since April 2005, but believes the true figure may be higher.

The source of unrest and anti-government agitation among Ahwazi Arabs is racial discrimination, land confiscation, state terrorism and high levels of poverty and unemployment, which are the consequences of a government programme of "ethnic restructuring". The programme was outlined in a letter by former Vice President Abtahi which was leaked from the office of the then President Khatami. The letter stated the government's intention to reduce the Arab population in Khuzestan from 70 per cent to 30 per cent through forced migration (click here to read the letter and translation).

Amnesty International report states: "Frustration and economic deprivation has spilled over in the past year into a cycle of violent protest and repression which seems likely to continue unless the Iranian authorities take the measures necessary to address the social, economic and other grievances that gave rise to the unrest."

Following a visit to Al-Ahwaz in July 2005, UNCHR's Special Rapporteur on Housing, Miloon Kothari, spoke of the forced relocation of Ahwazi Arabs: "We looked in detail in some areas on the issue of compensation and, for example, in Khuzestan the compensation being offered to the Arab villagers who were being displaced is sometimes one fortieth of the market value - and there's nothing they can do about it. It's a fait accompli. That's how it is. And all of these phenomena are continuing. It's something that is happening almost every day."

Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to:
- Release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally;- Review law and practice to ensure that no one is imprisoned as a prisoner of conscience or discriminated against solely on account of their political opinions, race, ethnicity, gender, or language;
- Review as a matter of urgency, through an independent judicial body, the cases of all political prisoners held without trial or convicted after unfair trials, and order the immediate release of all of those against whom there is no evidence that they have committed a recognizably criminal offence;
- Grant all such prisoners prompt and regular access to lawyers of their own choosing and their families and to appropriate medical care if necessary;
- Ensure that all trials, including in capital cases, respect, as a minimum standard, the relevant provisions of the ICCPR;
- Investigate all allegations of torture or ill-treatment promptly and thoroughly. The methods and findings of any such investigation should be made public. Anyone implicated in human rights violations should be brought to justice promptly and fairly and victims of torture and ill-treatment should be granted compensation;
- Take effective measures to eradicate the use of torture, including the full implementation in practice of Iran's own legislation and the ratification of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and complying with its provisions;
- Demonstrate its respect for the inherent right to life by ordering a moratorium on executions;
- Investigate all possible unlawful killings or extra-judicial executions promptly and fairly in accordance with the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, and bring to justice, fairly and promptly, any members of the security forces responsible for unlawful killings or other grave violations of human rights.
- End any policy of deliberate, discriminatory land expropriation or population transfer aimed at dispossessing minority populations from their traditional lands;
- Cease any practice of forced evictions: that is evicting people from land or housing without consultation, due process of law, and assurances of adequate alternative accommodation;
- Cease forced internal displacement linked to forced evictions and "land grabbing";
- Take immediate steps towards the elimination of de facto discrimination in the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to education, adequate housing, water and sanitation as well as in access to utilities such as electricity adopting special measures, such as multilingual education, as necessary.

Reports
"Iran: Need for restraint as anniversary of unrest in Khuzestan approaches" - Amnesty International statement, 13 April 2006
Iran: New government fails to address dire human rights situation - Amnesty International report, 16 February 2006
Release Ahwazi Women and Children! - BAFS leaflet
Interview with Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Miloon Kothari - IRIN, 9 August 2005

BAFS reports from April 2005
Names of those killed in Ahwaz
Ahwaz Intifada intensifies
A tragic week in the history of Ahwaz
Iran's "Bloody Friday" massacre in city of Ahwaz
IRAN'S BRUTALITY EXPOSED IN SHOCKING PHOTOS

IRAN'S BRUTALITY EXPOSED IN SHOCKING PHOTOS

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has obtained the following photographs of a disabled man tortured and shot by Iranian security forces (see bottom of this article).

Although BAFS rarely publishes the horrific pictures it regularly receives from Iran, the group feels that the enormity of the problem facing the Ahwazi Arabs is being ignored by the international community. We believe that the world will only act to stop the ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs, an oppressed minority in a region that supplies 10 per cent of OPEC oil, when it is confronted by the gruesome evidence of the Iranian regime's ethnic cleansing programme.

The pictures at the bottom of this article are of Seyed Sultan Albu-Shokeh, a 45 year old farmer from Falahya (Shadegan) who was recently murdered by the security forces. He was an amputee and it is believed that he lost his leg when he stepped on a landmine; Khuzestan has one of world's worst landmine amputee records in the world, due to the amount of unexploded ordnance left by the Iran-Iraq War. He was accused of being a member of a banned Ahwazi Arab political party and was killed i cold blood by the regime as part of its "anti-terrorism" operations. He was shot in the head through the jaw. His left leg, the lower portion of which has a prosthetic limb, also has bullet holes.

The Iranian authorities demanded 30 million rails (US$3,300) for the price of the bullets that killed him and 500 million (US$55,000) for the return of the body to his family for burial. The demands are well beyond the means of any Ahwazi Arab, particularly farmers. Since his murder, his brother has been arrested and has disappeared. He has not been properly buried by the family, although the regime claims to uphold Islamic values which place great importance on funeral rites.

Nasser Bani Assad, BAFS spokesman, said: "Khuzestan is a bloodbath. The only reason for this man's death is his ethnicity. He was crippled, so how could he be a threat to anyone? Why is the regime demanding ransoms for dead bodies? On what basis is it holding Ahwazi children as young as two years old in prison? Why are pregnant Ahwazi women being tortured in Sepidar prison? The answer is that this is collective punishment of Ahwazis for their political opposition to the regime. This represents the most vile intimidation by a murderous government that is being appeased by the European Union."





Please note: reproduction of photographs from this website is permitted, but please remember to credit British Ahwazi Friendship Society.
Iran pays for counter-demonstrations in Ahwaz

Iran pays for counter-demonstrations in Ahwaz

Reports from Iran claim that the Iranian regime is handing out large amounts of cash to some members of the Ahwazi Arab community, including tribal leaders, to encourage them to participate in government-sponsored demonstrations of support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has received a video of a meeting between former defence minister Ali Shamkhani, who is an Arab, and Ahwazis. But the Ahwazis are visibly angry, chanting slogans at Shamkhani as he walks to the meeting place. Click here to download the video, in 3gp format - playable in RealPlayer.

The President has had to cancel three public visits to Khuzestan province due to anti-government demonstrations by Ahwazi Arabs, who are protesting against land confiscation, cultural repression, discrimination, state violence and poverty.

The latest move signals that the government is resorting to buying the loyalty of local leaders, while simultaneously maintaining its confrontational stance with the Ahwazi population. Mass arrests, including kidnapping of children of Ahwazi opponents of the regime, and public executions have helped inflame anger among Arabs. As the first anniversary of the Ahwazi intifada approaches, on 15 April, the government is using bribery to stem the tide of insurrection.

The peaceful uprising last year, which occurred before Ahmadinejad's election as president, saw the regime lose control over large parts of Khuzestan, including Ahwaz and Abadan, the province's largest cities. More than 160 people were killed by security forces in the crackdown that followed, with thousands of arrests and an unknown number of summary executions.

As the anniversary of the intifada approaches, the province is witnessing an upsurge in protests. This week saw clashes between Ahwazi youths and security forces in the Dar-al-thura (Dayereh) district of Ahwaz City. A young man and two boys were shot and injured by Baseeji forces. They included 10 year old Haidar Saadi and seven year old Hassanali Saki.

The regime has blamed the British for the unrest in Ahwaz, but has failed to produce any evidence of a link between the demonstrators and foreign governments.

Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, said: "Shamkhani and Khuzestan Majlis member Nasser Sudani are running the campaign to buy up loyalty among tribal leaders. This may have a limited effect on some tribes, but not all Ahwazis will simply obey tribal leaderships and not all tribes are politically united. It will not placate the Ahwazi opposition to the government, but it may provide some propaganda opportunities for the government.

"We would not be surprised if, in the next few days ahead of the intifada anniversary, there was a large pro-regime demonstration by the Baseej paramilitaries with Ahwazis featured prominently. It will be used to give the impression that dissent is marginal and that those who demonstrate against the regime's ethnic cleansing policies are extremists.

"But the fact that mass protests are now a weekly phenomenon in Ahwaz indicates that the truth is far different. This is a rebellion against the government that no amount of bribery or state violence will stop. The protests are gathering momentum."
Leading Politician Supports Ahwazi Arab Democratic Resistance

Leading Politician Supports Ahwazi Arab Democratic Resistance

A leading member of the European Parliament, Paulo Casaca, has pledged his support to the Ahwazi democratic resistance to the Iranian regime.

In a letter to the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), the Portuguese Socialist MEP who leads the European Parliament's delegation to NATO, expressed disgust at the "brutal and criminal repression of the ethnic Arab minority in Iran". He highlighted the imprisonment of the wives and children - one of which is just two years old - of Ahwazi opposition activists. In the letter, he stated: "I would ask you to convey to the families and closest friends of those who are murdered, of those who see their wives and children dragged to prison and torture, my full solidarity."

He added that he was in "full solidarity" with "the struggle of the democratic Ahwazi Resistance against this barbaric regime that in the name of religion and holy values practices the most vile and sordid acts."

Mr Casaca has championed the Ahwazi Arab issue at a European level and managed to win cross-party support for European Parliament condemnation of forced displacement of Arabs near Ahwaz City. He has described Iran's land confiscation and the wave of human rights violations against the Ahwazis as "ethnic cleansing" and called on the European Commission to take action to address the situation.

Links
UNICEF called to intervene to stop detention of Ahwazi children and women - 2 April 2006
Iran is ethnic cleansing Ahwazis claims senior European politician - 19 January 2006
Iran Slammed for 'Barbarian' Treatment of Ahwazi Arabs - 12 March 2006
Iran begins ethnic cleansing of Minoo Island Arabs - 23 October 2005
Iran cyber attack on BAFS website

Iran cyber attack on BAFS website


The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) website has been attacked by hackers, along with a number of other groups campaigning against human rights violations in Iran.

The website, which is hosted in London, was down for 24 hours at the same time as the Iranian regime was imposing a media blackdown in Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan) while stepping up its campaign of ethnic cleansing against Ahwazi Arabs in the province.

The website of UK-based human rights group Outrage!, which recently published a statement highlighting the abuse of Ahwazi Arabs, has also been attacked for the third time in less than a year. As of 8.00am GMT, the website was still down. The group's website was previously attacked following a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in October last year, which was reported by the BBC Persian service. It was attacked a second time in March.

The opposition Iran Focus website was attacked in February in a denial of service (DOS) attack. An investigation found the attacks were being launched from Tehran. The website's owners suggested the hacking could have been the work of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), the successor of the Shah's dreaded SAVAK.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "It is quite an honour to be attacked by the Iranian regime. It shows they are frightened of the truth. But while they may be able to shut down a website for a few hours, they cannot stop information on their ethnic cleansing programme. The regime has banned Al-Jazeera from Al-Ahwaz for its coverage of peaceful Ahwazi anti-government protests, but we have scores of amateur journalists with digicams and mobile phone cameras collecting evidence and sending it down the internet. The desperate measures and the brutal intimidation no longer work - neither will website hacking."
UNICEF called to intervene to stop detention of Ahwazi children and women

UNICEF called to intervene to stop detention of Ahwazi children and women


The British Ahwazi Friendship Society is called on UNICEF to intervene to stop the continued kidnapping and detention of young Ahwazi children and their mothers.

Last week, the wife and two young children of Ahwazi Arab opposition activist Habib Faraj-allah were kidnapped and taken into custody by the Iranian regime.

Hoda Hawashem (24) (pictured left), four year old Ahmed (centre) and two year old Osameh (right) are now in custody, along with other Ahwazi women and children.

Sakina Naisi, a 40 year old woman taken into custody in February when she was three months pregnant, has reportedly had to have an abortion after suffering physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her torturers. Sakina is the wife of Ahmad Naisi, a prominent political activist wanted by the authorities. Following her arrest, the authorities destroyed her husband's family home in the Sho'aybiyeh district of Ahwaz with bulldozers.

Sakina was among five people, including three women and two children, mentioned in a recent Amnesty International urgent action appeal, which called for their immediate release. Soghra Khudayrawi and her four year old son Zeidan and Masoumeh Kaabi and her four year old son Aimad have been in custody since February to punish their husbands for engaging in political activism (click here for further details).

Nasser Bani-Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society, said: "The detention of Ahwazi women and children amounts to kidnapping. None of them have committed any crime. It is a way of punishing political opposition to the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime is one of the most cruellest governments on earth, but the European Commission has failed to address these grotesque human rights abuses.

"The detention of children is in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is legally binding on Iran. President Ahmadinejad is breaking all the rules and must be brought to account by the international community for crimes committed by his government."

Leaflet: Release Ahwazi Children and Women