BREAKING NEWS

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...

Iran could extend assassination and terrorist campaign to Europe

Iran could extend assassination and terrorist campaign to Europe

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has received credible reports from inside Iran that the Iranian regime is planning to assassinate dissidents in Europe.

Ahwazis and BAFS members have received a number of death threats since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power last year, although some appear to have come from Persian ultra-nationalists opposed to the regime. However, most activists have ignored the threats or passed on details to the police. The latest reports along with an attempted abduction of an Ahwazi at a European airport appear to confirm that some of the threats may be serious.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "The latest information from Iran suggests that the threats are serious. We are urging exiled Ahwazi opposition activists, particularly in London, to keep travel plans and address details secret, maintain a low profile when visiting the Middle East and not to use Iranian-owned airlines. Ahwazis living in Europe who receive death threats or see signs of suspicious activity should report to the police immediately. This will help the authorities identify trends in threats and take appropriate action. We also urged Ahwazis not to panic. Co-operation with the police will help prevent harm to Ahwazis and British citizens. The worst anyone can do is hide away and remain silent."

The threats to Ahwazis in the Middle East are well-known. Recently, a number of UN-registered Ahwazi refugees and a Dutch national have been detained by the Syrian authorities in Damascus and one has been sent back to Iran to face interrogation through torture (click here for Amnesty International report). Earlier this year, an Ahwazi political leader living in Iraq's Basra province was abducted by Iranian-backed militias and was tortured and killed before his mutilated body was handed back to his family (click here for details). Ahwazis fleeing to other Arab states, including Kuwait and the UAE, have also told of threats to their lives and the lives of their relatives in Iran.

Until now, Europe has been seen as a safe-haven for Ahwazi refugees. The regime has carried out killings in Europe the past. In 1993, three Iranian Kurdish leaders were murdered by agents of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Vienna while they were involved in negotiations with Iranian representatives. Austrian politicians have alleged that Ahmadinejad himself assisted the assassination operation while serving as a Revolutionary Guards commander. Ahmadinejad is likely to favour similar assassinations of dissidents in Europe.

There is concern in the UK over the security threat posed by Iran. British intelligence agencies have informed the UK's parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee that the regime poses a threat to British interests. A report published this week by the ISC states that "there is a possibility of an increased threat to UK interests from Iranian state-sponsored terrorism should the diplomatic situation deteriorate."
Iran: Retry Ethnic Arabs Condemned to Death

Iran: Retry Ethnic Arabs Condemned to Death

Report from Reuters Alertnet/Human Right Watch:

Iran's judiciary should rescind the death sentences of at least 10 Iranians of Arab origin convicted of plotting against the state, and retry them before courts that meet international fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch said today.

At least 10 Iranians of Arab origin have been condemned to death following secret trials in the southwestern province of Khuzistan, which has seen ethnic unrest among its Iranian-Arab population in the past year [pictured is 30 year old teacher Raisan Hassan Sawari, one of those sentenced to death - click here for more information]. All the men were charged with armed activity against the state and were tried before Revolutionary Courts. Human Rights Watch spoke with one of the two defense lawyers for the men sentenced most recently, who confirmed that all trials were held behind closed doors and without any independent and impartial observers present.

"These men are accused of serious crimes, but they clearly haven't had a fair trial," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. "We always oppose the death penalty, because it is cruel and flawed. But sentencing people to death after such an inadequate trial is especially outrageous."

The lawyers did not have an opportunity to meet with their clients to discuss their case with them, but had to prepare a defense based on the prosecution file presented to them. The trials have all been closed to the public, and defense lawyers remain the sole source of non-official information as to what occurred.

On March 2, the authorities hanged Ali Afrawi and Mehdi Nawaseri in Ahwaz, the capital of Khuzistan province. The authorities accused them of carrying out two bombings in Ahwaz that killed six people on October 15, 2005.

On June 6, Judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad said that a Revolutionary Court had sentenced six men to death, after it found them guilty of bombing oil pipelines in July 2005. He did not provide any information about the condemned men, or about when or where their trial was held.

Defense lawyers told Human Rights Watch that on June 8, the Third Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Ahwaz sentenced another four men to death following a one-day trial on June 7. The court found the men, Zamel Bawi, Jaafar Sawari, Raisan Sawari, and Abdulreza Nawaseri, guilty of armed activity against the state.

Human Rights Watch said that the Iranian government is obliged as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to provide persons accused of crimes with "fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal."

"A summary trial behind closed doors does not meet the international standards binding Iran," said Whitson. "For Iran to put these defendants to death would be the ultimate violation of their rights."

Zamel Bawi's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, told Human Rights Watch that during his client's trial on June 7, the Revolutionary Court prosecutor charged the four men under Iran's penal code as mohareb, meaning "enemies of God." The accusation of being mohareb is leveled against anyone charged with taking up arms against the state and committing violent acts, and is punishable by death.

According to Nikbakht, the state presented evidence that the defendants had purchased homemade bombs which they deactivated and hid, a charge that carries a 10-year prison sentence. But the lawyer said that since the prosecutor presented no evidence that the men had actually carried out any violent acts, they had not committed a capital offense under Iranian law.

Human Rights Watch called on the Iranian government to stop using the death penalty, due to its inherent cruelty and irrevocability.

Links:
Reuter report
UNPO Urgent Appeal Concerning Ahwazi Executions
Ahwazis face arrest, deportation and execution - 1 June
Amnesty International: Eleven Ahwazis Face Execution - 17 May
Iran prepares for new round of executions in Ahwaz - 13 May
Executed: Young Men Hung by Iranian Tyrants - 2 March
Iran prepares to execute tribal family - 19 February
Iran sentences seven over Ahwaz bombings - 15 February
Iran increases repression in Ahwaz - 8 February
Ahwaz Bombings Come After Weeks of Unrest - 24 January
UNPO highlights plight of Ahwazis on International Refugee Day

UNPO highlights plight of Ahwazis on International Refugee Day

As the world commemorates International Refugee Day, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) has highlighted the cases of several nations and peoples suffering forced displacement, including the Ahwazi Arabs.

In a statement released today, UNPO says: "In Iran, as with many of the other minority nations in the Islamic republic, the circumstance of the Ahwazi Arabs has been precarious since 1925 when Ahwaz, until then an autonomous Arab territory, gradually lost its political, economic and cultural independence and became a part of Iran. Recently, individuals promoting rights of the Arab people in the Ahwaz region have been targeted and subject to capital punishment. Sustained repression, coupled with lack of free media and denial of basic human rights have led many to flee. Earlier this month the UNHCR voiced its concern about the fate of several Ahwazi recognized refugees, some being arrested in Syria. UNPO continues to work with its Members in the region to highlight and address these issues." (click here to download the statement in full)

The UNPO is composed of Member nations and groups, including indigenous peoples and minorities, of whom many continue to suffer from forced migration or face the risk of becoming refugees, due to their respective political as well as socio-economic contexts; some residing in conflict-ridden and/or resource-scarce environments and many being part of politically marginalized communities. The issue of refugees is therefore an important question to UNPO Members worldwide, and continues to be a problem related to the larger issues of democratization and human rights, development and human security; and the lack of such.
German minister refuses to meet butcher of Ahwaz

German minister refuses to meet butcher of Ahwaz

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has refused to meet his Iranian counterpart, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, over his role in mass executions in Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan) during the 1980s, according to Germany's Focus magazine.

As the province's head prosecutor, Pour Mohammadi was responsible for the killings of more than one thousand opposition activists in trials that often lasted less than five minutes. Children were among victims of Pour Mohammadi's reign of terror in Al-Ahwaz. Since he became Interior Minister in September 2005, he has overseen the imprisonment of thousands of Ahwazi Arab activists and the execution of scores of Ahwazis. The children of dissidents, including a new-born baby, are among those currently in prison as Pour Mohammadi seeks to step up Iran's ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs from their homeland.

German police have also accused Pour Mohammadi of masterminding the assassination of four leaders of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in Vienna in 1992, during peace talks with the Iranian government. Austrian politicians have also claimed that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was responsible for logistical support for the assassinations. Grand Ayatollah Hassan Ali Montazeri also names Pour Mohammadi in his autobiography as one of the politicians who ordered the execution in 1988 of 30,000 members of the Iranian opposition.

Germany is also protesting against Iran's refusal to free a German citizen, Donald Klein, who was arrested with a French citizen, Stephane Lherbier, in November 2005 while fishing in the Arabian Gulf. Iran has accused them of espionage and has sentenced them to 18 months imprisonment for entering Iranian waters.

Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), said: "We applaud Germany's principled position on its dealings with Iran. The best way to deal with the Iranian regime is isolate the human rights abusers from international diplomacy and minimise contact. The policy of appeasement chosen by most European governments has not worked. Instead, the regime's abuses and defiance of the international community have worsened as European governments have bent over backwards to please the Ahmadinejad administration.

"Herr Schaeuble realises that the people in the Iranian regime are some of the world's worst mass murderers and supporters of terrorism. His stance will be welcomed by the Ahwazis and the people of Iran working for democratic change, the protection of human rights, liberty and equality.

"It is interesting to note that the only Germans - and indeed the only Europeans - who want Ahmadinejad present at the World Cup are neo-Nazis due to his Holocaust denial. The Ahwazis, like all Iranian groups, have no problem with Jews and condemn the regime's historical revisionism. We also believe that Ahmadinejad has no right to predicate Palestinian statehood on the elimination of Israel, just as we believe that Ahwazi rights do not entail the destruction of Iran. Ahmadinejad and members of his government represent the forces of division, violence and hatred, forces that drove the Nazis into power in Germany. Germans know better than anyone the perils of Nazism and this is why they overwhelmingly reject the fascist regime in Iran."
Iran: Homes for the dead in the land of the damned

Iran: Homes for the dead in the land of the damned

Iran's persecuted Ahwazi Arab minority are being subjected to an ethnic cleansing programme in their homeland, Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan), with their lands confiscated to build racially exclusive settlements such as the Persian township of Sharinshahr.

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has found that many of those who object to forcible relocation have 'disappeared' or have been executed, with hundreds of Ahwazis dumped in mass graves. BAFS has published photographic proof of shallow graves where Ahwazis have been buried in a place the government calls "Lanat Abad", the place of the "damned people". The bodies do not stay long in the unmarked graves, before they are dug up and eaten by dogs (click on image for larger size).





Around 160 Ahwazi Arabs were killed in the Ahwazi intifada (uprising) in April 2005 when the regime lost control over large parts of Khuzestan, but more have been murdered, incarcerated and 'disappeared' as unrest has continued.

They include Seyed Sultan Albu-Shokeh, a 45 year old disabled farmer from Falahya (Shadegan) (click here for more information):



Mehdi Nawaseri, who was hung after being forced to confess on Khuzestan TV to being a terrorist:



Muhammed-Ali Afrawi, who was also hung alongside Mehdi after a television "confession" - his sister was murdered by the security forces the following day and his father, a leading psychologist at Chamram Hospital, is now on death row:



Click here for more information on the execution of Mehdi and Ali.

Kamal Daghaghleh, who was shot dead by the security forces in a demonstration in Ahwaz's Hey Althowra district which followed the executions (click here for more information):



A number of bodies showing signs of torture have been found up washed up on the shores of the Karoon River, which flows through Ahwaz City, or found in fishing nets (click here for more information):



Meanwhile, the wives and young children of Ahwazi activists campaigning to stop the killings and land confiscations have been held hostage by the regime. They include the world's youngest political prisoner, Baby Salma, the daughter of Fahima Ismail Badawi (pictured below) and moderate opposition leader Ali Madouri-Zadeh:



Other minorities are also suffering violent persecution, notably the Balochis. The Iranian military is using helicopter gun ships and air strikes to kill innocent Balochis in their homeland, which straddles the Iran-Pakistan border (click here for the Balochistan Peoples Party website):





BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "Despite high profile appeals by European politicians and human rights activists, the European Union and the British government have ignored Ahwazi appeals for the issue of ethnic cleansing to be addressed at an international level.

"Meanwhile, Chinese, Indian and European firms are profiting from the genocidal policies of the Iranian regime, with the full support of their governments. Companies such as Britain's Costain Group (click here for more information on Costain) are investing large sums on money in industries that exploit natural resources extracted from land forcibly taken from Ahwazis. The Ahwazis themselves are rewarded with mass unemployment, poverty, disease and anonymous mass graves - none of the revenue generated from the oil-rich lands stolen from the Ahwazis is redistributed.

"Last year, the Costain Group won a US$1.6 billion deal to construct the Bid Boland 2 gas treatment facility for the National Iranian Gas Company near Behbahan City, a facility that relies on state terror to maintain Costain profits. The deal was assisted with the support of the UK's ambassador to Tehran, Richard Dalton (click here for details).

"We want to ask Prime Minister Tony Blair how his government's assistance in the pillaging of Al-Ahwaz and the terrorising of the Ahwazi Arabs is in any way conducive to the creation of a stable and democratic Middle East? Why are the killings in Ahwaz less important than the killings in Halabja?"
UNPO Urgent Appeal Concerning Ahwazi Executions

UNPO Urgent Appeal Concerning Ahwazi Executions

The following is a statement published by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) regarding the continuing state killings of Ahwazi Arabs.

The South-western governor-general of Khuzestan has announced publicly that the ongoing Ahwazi executions will continue. Twenty one detainees face imminent execution by aggressive Iranian security force aimed at targeting the Ahwazi-Arabs.

UNPO is deeply concerned at current developments in Iran, specifically concerning the indigenous Ahwazi Arab people. Last week, the south-western provincial Governor-General of Khuzestan (Al-Ahwaz) - General Amir Hayat-Moqaddam, reportedly told the Iranian News Agency (IRNA) that the executions of Ahwaz-Arabs would continue after the government has issued more than eight executions over the past two months. Taking all events into account it would indicate that the Iranian repressive regime is undertaking a new wave of arbitrary executions targeting political and human rights activists of the indigenous Ahwazi Arab nation in Iran.

According to our information, on 01 June 2006, the Revolutionary Court's 3rd Branch in the city of Ahwaz sentenced eleven political activists to death. Two days later, Iraj Amirkhani, Ahwaz Prosecutor General reportedly announced over public radio that twenty five people have been arrested and are also to be sentenced to death. This currently brings the total to thirty six Ahwazis recently arrested since this critical announcement.

Since April 2005, over 25,000 Ahwazis have been detained and an approximate 130 executed so far. To date, over 150 individuals have disappeared and are believed to have been held, tortured and then executed by the Iranian security forces. The Ahwazi-Arabs have faced confiscation of their farm lands, forced displacement and have suffered sustained human rights violations. The scale and continuation of repression against the Ahwazis demands urgent international attention and address by the United Nations (UN) and bodies mandated to the uphold respect for human rights worldwide.

Based on the above facts, UNPO has appealed to Mr. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions to:
1) urgently request the individuals facing threat of immediate execution to be granted due legal proceedings and/or be released;
2) urgently alert the United Nation's Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to the current situation in Iran regarding the ongoing arbitrary executions of the Ahwazi peoples;
3) urge Iran to respect and uphold its obligations under International Humanitarian law and to end practices of unlawful arbitrary detention and execution; especially in executions towards minors, and;
4) put renewed pressure on Iran to end its acts of repression against the Ahwazi Arab peoples in Khuzestan.

Links
Six of sixteen Ahwazis on trial face execution - 4 June 2006
Ahwazis face arrest, deportation and execution - 1 June
Amnesty International: Eleven Ahwazis Face Execution - 17 May
Iran prepares for new round of executions in Ahwaz - 13 May
Executed: Young Men Hung by Iranian Tyrants - 2 March
Iran prepares to execute tribal family - 19 February
Iran sentences seven over Ahwaz bombings - 15 February
Iran increases repression in Ahwaz - 8 February
Ahwaz Bombings Come After Weeks of Unrest - 24 January
Pet Shop Boys Dedicates Album to Ahwazi Boys Executed in Iran

Pet Shop Boys Dedicates Album to Ahwazi Boys Executed in Iran

British pop band Pet Shop Boys has dedicated its latest album "Fundamental" to Muhammad Askari (Mahmoud Asgari) and Ayaad Marhuni (Ayaz Marhoni), two Ahwazi Arab teenagers executed after being accused of homosexuality. The album by one the UK's leading pop music acts went straight to number five in the British charts when it was released two weeks ago. It is due to be released in the US on 26 June.

The 17 year olds were executed in July 2005 in Mashhad in northeastern Iran, where their families had been forcibly relocated from Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan) under the Iranian regime's ethnic restructuring programme. The regime had portrayed them as serial child rapists and professional criminals. In one interview with the regime's Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), a pro-government academic claimed that people from their social group (implicitly their race) were prone to rape and robbery with violence.

The executions (pictured right) were carried out during a wave of anti-government protests by Ahwazi Arabs in Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan). Some Ahwazi activists believe that the death sentences, carried out in Mashhad's Justice Square, were staged to portray Arabs in a bad light.

The British gay rights group Outrage! published a lengthy and detailed investigation into the Askari and Marhuni cases and other instances of state violence against gay people, as well as "honour" killings by relatives who fear that their clan and ethnic group will be tarnished by revelations of homosexuality (click here to download the report).

Outrage has also supported Ahwazi rights. Peter Tatchell (pictured at a London demonstration by Ahwazi Arabs in April), one of the group's founding members and a leading activist in the Green Party, has spoken out against what he has called the ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs.

The Pet Shop Boys' album dedication raises the profile of the suppression of ethnic and sexual minorities in Iran.

Links
The threat of Tehran in Ahwaz - Peter Tatchell, 24 April 2006
Rights Activist Peter Tatchell Joins Ahwazi Protest in London - BAFS, 22 April 2006
Iran's Execution of Gays Part of Ethnic Repression - BAFS, 24 July 2005
Iran continues to execute minors and juvenile offenders - Amnesty International, 22 July 2005
UNHCR calls on Syria not to extradite Ahwazi refugees

UNHCR calls on Syria not to extradite Ahwazi refugees

The following article was published by the UN's news centre - click here to download the original article. For the UNHCR's statement, click here.

The United Nations refugee agency today called on Syria not to extradite Iranian Arabs to their homeland, reminding the Government of its obligations not to return refugees or asylum seekers to territories where their lives or freedom might be threatened due to race, religion, nationality or political opinion.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) "is increasingly concerned about the fate of several Ahwazi (Iranian Arab) refugees recognized by our office in Damascus," spokesman Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva, citing the recent arrest of seven Ahwazis.

Six of these are recognized by UNHCR as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention and one is a former refugee recently naturalized by the Netherlands. The Agency immediately raised its concerns at the highest levels, stressing that the recognised refugees should immediately be released. As a result, three have been freed but four remain in detention.

"UNHCR is particularly concerned about the fate of these Ahwazis, as the Syrian authorities recently deported to Iran an Arab-Iranian Ahwazi who was recognised as a mandate refugee by UNHCR Damascus at the end of 2005 and who had been accepted for resettlement in Norway," Mr. Redmond said.

According to the Syrian Foreign Ministry, the extradition was requested by the Iranian authorities. "Extradition does not mean that a refugee or asylum seeker loses his or her international protection status. We therefore strongly appeal to both Syrian and Iranian authorities to allow the refugee to depart to Norway as scheduled," Mr. Redmond added.

Ahwazi refugees came to Iraq and Syria during various periods. Recent human rights reports have expressed concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in Al-Ahwaz (Khuzestan) in Iran, home to nearly 2 million Iranians of Arab descent. Individuals promoting rights of the Arab people in the Ahwaz region have reportedly been targeted, and access to the region has been denied to foreign and local journalists, Mr. Redmond said.

"UNHCR strongly appeals to Syria to abide by its obligations under international law and to ensure that the principle of non-refoulement is recognised," he added.

"The principle of non-refoulement prohibits states from returning refugees or asylum seekers to territories where there is a risk that their lives or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion."

Links
Syria's deportation scandal - British Ahwazi Friendship Society
Ahwazis face arrest, deportation and execution - British Ahwazi Friendship Society
Further information on fear of forcible return and new concern: Torture - Amnesty International
Syria arresting Ahwazi Arabs to please Iran - Ya Libnan
Ahwazi refugees arrested and deported to Iran - Syrian Human Rights Committee
Former Iranian Defence Chief Criticises Regime's Treatment of Ahwazis

Former Iranian Defence Chief Criticises Regime's Treatment of Ahwazis

Former Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani has launched a stinging rebuke of the Ahmadinejad's policies towards ethnic minorities, particularly Ahwazi Arabs, according to a report by Iran's Aftab News Agency.

An ethnic Arab, Shamkhani served in the cabinet of President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) and had led the ground forces in the Iran-Iraq War. In the interview with Aftab, Shamkhani warns that Iran will face a rise in ethnic tensions in the near future and will become a major challenge to the regime.

Shamkhani does not share President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's view that ethnic unrest is being encouraged and organised by the British government. Instead, he says that 27 years after the Iranian Revolution, the regime is failing to address the widening gap between people's expectations and its ability to fulfill them. According to Shamkhani, ethnic unrest is a result of the regime's failure to provide any solutions for minority demands and unless the government provides a democratic framework for these demands to be met, Iran should expect large-scale unrest.

Shamkhani pointed to the difference in the way the government has addressed recent unrest among Azeris, who form 25 per cent of the Iranian population, and disturbances by smaller ethnic groups in Khuzestan, Balochistan and Kurdistan. Unrest among Azeris was sparked by a racist cartoon in a conservative newspaper, which compared Azeris to cockroaches. The government stopped the newspaper's publication and arrested the cartoonist and editor, following confrontational demonstrations in Azeri-populated cities such as Tabriz. While the regime put down the demonstrations by force, it also took action against those responsible for the offensive cartoon. In contrast, Ahwazi Arab unrest has been met with state violence, the kidnapping and imprisonment of the wives and children of dissidents, regular public executions of opposition activists and a string of other human rights violations. Shamkhani appeared to condemn the difference in the treatment of ethnic groups and called on the government to stop regarding ethnic Arabs as a fifth column.

Shamkhani is currently runs the Institute of Iran Studies and the Defence Research Centre. He has been involved in dialogue between Ahwazi Arabs and the government in an attempt to bring an end to the intifada in Khuzestan, the homeland of the Ahwazi Arabs. In April, the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) received a video of one meeting between angry Ahwazi leaders and Shamkhani (click here to download the video, in 3gp format - playable in RealPlayer).

Despite being Iran's most successful Arab figure in post-revolution Iran, Shamkhani did little to advance the Ahwazi cause while in office. The massacre of around 160 Ahwazis in the April 2005 uprising occurred while Shamkhani was still defence minister in Khatami's government.

The Ahwazis' chief demands include: respect for Arab culture and customs, poverty alleviation, an end to racial discrimination and land confiscations, the redistribution of oil revenues generated by the oil industry in Ahwaz and respect for human rights and freedom of speech. Peaceful demonstrations by Ahwazis have been met with brutal violence by the security forces, including the Bassij paramilitaries, who have killed a large number of protestors and activists over the past year.

Shamkhani is not the only establishment figure to criticise the government's policies towards ethnic minorities. In January, the Islamic Majlis Centre for Research - a think tank attached to the Majlis (parliament) - warned that Iran could face ethnic conflict and unrest unless the government addresses the needs of Iran's ethnic minorities (click here for more information).

Links
Aftab News Agency article
Iran pays for counter-demonstrations in Ahwaz
Parliamentary Think Tank Warns of Ethnic Unrest
Iran: Six of sixteen Ahwazis on trial face execution

Iran: Six of sixteen Ahwazis on trial face execution

According to information received by the Mohamara News Agency (Mona), six of 16 Ahwazis on trial in the revolutionary court in Ahwaz City have been convicted of "waging war on God" and are set to face execution.

The intelligence services have ordered the revolutionary court, which sits in closed sessions, to sentence the following Ahwazi detainees to death: brothers Zamel Bawi, Mohsen Bawi and Emad Bawi, all of whom run computer shops in Ahwaz City, along with teacher Risan Sawary (pictured), Tariq Abayat and Ali Manbohi.

Mohsen Bawi has been accused of masterminding an attack on a sugar plantation settlement with the involvement of two other detainees, Abdulreza Noasseri and Abbas Jamossi (aka Abu Mokhtar).

Their convictions were secured in a trial that fell far short of international standards, with defendants denied access to lawyers or to see the "evidence". The charges against the men are widely believed to be false and the evidence fabricated. The presiding judge, Dadfr, has reportedlt told tribal leader and businessman Hajj Salem Bawi, the father of six brothers accused of terrorist acts, that the role of the revolutionary court was to give approval to sentences decided by the authorities before the trial.

Meanwhile, the court has reportedly rejected an appeal by Hani Bawi, one of six Bawi brothers accused of insurgency, against his sentence. He was given an 11-year prison sentence and two years house arrest in the northern Iranian city of Baafq earlier this year. Hani Bawi is a university student studying accounting at Chamran University in Ahwaz City. The sixth brother, 16 year old Muslim Bawi, is due to face trial at a youth court.

Hedi Battili (Abu Mohammed) and Saeed Hamedan (Abu Mohie) are also set to face trial in coming days and are likely to face the death penalty.

Links
Ahwazis face arrest, deportation and execution - 1 June
Amnesty International: Eleven Ahwazis Face Execution - 17 May
Iran prepares for new round of executions in Ahwaz - 13 May
Executed: Young Men Hung by Iranian Tyrants - 2 March
Iran prepares to execute tribal family - 19 February
Iran sentences seven over Ahwaz bombings - 15 February
Iran increases repression in Ahwaz - 8 February
Ahwaz Bombings Come After Weeks of Unrest - 24 January
Ahwazi voice on indigenous issues at the United Nations

Ahwazi voice on indigenous issues at the United Nations

The following speech was made by Mansour Silawi-Ahwazi at the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues on 24 May 2006:

Thanks for giving me this chance to represent our Ahwazi Arabs (southwest Iran) which has been living in Al-Ahwaz territory for thousand of years and was governed by Ahwazis until 1925 when was included to Iran without its volition. Since that time Ahwazis receive various ways of discriminations and persecutions from both monarchy and Islamic republic regimes, which tried to abolish our singularities and dissolve our identity throughout taking various schemes, isolations, and racism policies such as land confiscation, force displacement, and building Persian settlements followed by inhuman repression such as killing and arresting purposelessly.

Consequently, our Ahwazi people endure poverty and deprivation in all means notwithstanding our homeland produces approximately 90% of Iranian petrol exports.

Undoubtedly, international community silence toward our persecution in past 8 decades took part to encourage the consecutive Iranian regimes in continuing racism policies against our people. Unfortunately, the cognate Arab countries are ignoring our just cause and wink at disastrous situation to five million indigenous Ahwazi Arabs. Accordingly, our people precluded from any remarkable international or Arabic underpinning.

Madam Chairperson, since the outbreak of the peaceful intifada on April 2005 which objects the Iranian policies that aimed to change the demographic region against the indigenous Arab population, our people suffer from inhumanity from Iranian security authorities which breach their human rights that have reached mass killing, detention of pregnant women, children, and brutal torturing. These, of course, condemned by most of human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and human rights watch.

In conclusion, we demand international community in particular United Nation for immediate intervention to stop human rights violation in Al-Ahwaz and savage lives of hundreds of arrested and detainees especially women, children, patients and elderly from Iranian detention centres and prisons.
Ahwazi Women at United Nations

Ahwazi Women at United Nations

The following is an excerpt from a statement by Makhale Tshifhiwa on behalf of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and in association with Ahwazi Human Rights Organization (AHRO) at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (15 – 26 May 2006)under Item 4 c) Ongoing priorities and themes: "Indigenous Children, Youth and Women":

Ahwazi women are not only being denied these basic rights and experiencing a lack of space opportunity to conduct peaceful political activities an atmosphere conducive to positive change, but also, following recent episodes, they fear being arrested without charge and held in detention with no access to legal assistance. Instances during the last months and weeks, reported by several human rights organizations, clearly demonstrate the violation of the basic rights of indigenous Ahwazi women and their children. A number of Ahwazi women, among them some pregnant and with their children, have been held for longer periods without access to legal aid or due process. So far, the health of Ms. Sakina Naisi is in danger after harsh treatment led to forced abortion. Ms. Hawashem is still being detained along with her two children. Ms. Masouma Kaabi was also arrested with her child Imad, and Ms. Soghra Khuddayrawai imprisoned along with her son Zeydan. Furthermore, Ms. Fahima Isma'ili recently gave birth to her child Sal'ma whilst held in detention. It is essential to note that the arrested women were all wives and relatives of politically active men.

On behalf of UNPO I express concern at how these indigenous women have suffered ill-treatment and been held unlawfully with their children in custody. We appeal to the Permanent Forum to urge Iran to develop specific non-discriminatory policies towards women; to enhance the situation of women in Iran and in particular indigenous Ahwazi women; to provide and ensure that their basic rights are respected and that these women do not suffer the arbitrary arrest and detention based on the activities of their husbands; that women and men alike are free to voice political dissent when expressed through non-violent and legitimate means; Whilst we appeal for the urgent release of indigenous women, we call upon the Permanent Forum to gather data and information about the situation of indigenous women in Khuzestan and the larger region; and to distribute this information to lay the basis for further recommendations for the authorities in Iran.