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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."