Six Ahwazi Arabs have been sentenced to death this week at Section 3 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court.
They were convicted of involvement in bomb attacks in the city, although the names of those sentenced have not been confirmed. Reports suggest that three of those facing execution are among the six sons of moderate Ahwaz tribal leader Hajj Salem Bawi who have been the subject of an intense campaign for their release. The Bawi brothers are believed to be among the victims of the government's retribution against the Ahwazi population for unrest that has gripped the province of Khuzestan, the Ahwazi Arab homeland. However, reports from Ahwaz are unclear as the proceedings of the Revolutionary Courts are held in private, with defendents denied access to defence lawyers. In a recent report, Amnesty International has listed 11 men threatened with execution, including Zamal and Imad Bawi, pictured (click here for report).
Meanwhile, a number of Ahwazi refugees are being held in custody in Syria while their fate is decided by the Syrian government, an ally of the Iranian regime. Saeed Saki, an Ahwazi refugee registered with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has already been extradited to Iran by Syria and human rights groups have expressed concern over his treatment (click here for details).
Syria's extradition of registered Ahwazi refugees contravenes the Geneva Convention on refugees and Ahwazi activists have appealed to the Syrian government to release the refugees. The refugees' UNHCR registration documents state that they should be "protected from forcible return where he/she would face threats to his or her life or freedom." The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has obtained proof of the UNHCR refugee registration for Jamal Obeidi, a 34-year-old student and Chair of Ahwazi Student Union in Syria (click on picture for larger version).
Dutch national Faleh Abdullah al Mansouri (60), who leads the Ahwaz Liberation Organisation (ALO), is also being held by Syria. The Iranian regime claims all those arrested in Syria are Salafists, followers of a Sunni Islamist sect. However, the ALO has never propagated any religious views and has a secular nationalist ideology.