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

Death sentence for Ahwazis confirmed by Supreme Court

Death sentence for Ahwazis confirmed by Supreme Court

Tribal leaders, teachers, businessmen, students and mothers are among those Ahwazis who are destined for the gallows or the dungeons, following closed trials by Iran's notorious revolutionary courts.

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has received the names and details of those set to be executed, imprisoned or banished as part of Iran's increased repression in the restive Arab-majority province of Khuzestan, known to the indigenous inhabitants as Al-Ahwaz.

The following people have had their death sentences for "waging war on God" - in references to bomb attacks that hit Al-Ahwaz in 2005 and earlier this year - upheld by the Supreme Court:
> Mohamad Ali Sawari, a teacher from Ahwaz City
> Yahya Naseri from Ahwaz City
> Nazem Berihi from Ahwaz City, who has been in prison since 2000 after receiving a 30-year prison sentence and therefore could not have carried out the recent bomb attacks
> Abdulzahra Helichi from Ahwaz City
> Abdul Emam Zaeri from Ahwaz City

Others have faced serious penalties after trials that Human Rights Watch claims failed to meet international standards. Some have been sentenced to death, but are awaiting confirmation from the Supreme Court.

Mothers are among those sentenced by the revolutionary court in Ahwaz:
> Mrs Fahima Esmaeili (pictured) - sentenced to 15 years prison in Yasuj city, outside Khuzestan province (she gave birth in prison in March to a baby girl, Salma, but it is unclear what will happen to the baby)
> Mrs Hoda Hawashem - one year in prison in Ahwaz City (she is being held in prison with her sons, aged two and four - it is unclear what will happen them while she is in prison)
Click here for more information on Ahwazi women and children in custody

Other Ahwazis sentenced to death or long jails terms include:
> Ali Motari Zadeh from Mashour (Mashar) - sentenced to death
> Khalaf Khazraei from Falahiya (Shadgan) - sentenced to death
> Mohamad Kaabi from Tostar city (Shushtar) - sentenced to death
> Abdulamir Faraj Allah Chaab from Tostar city(Shushtar) - sentenced to death
> Mohamad Salmani Kaabi from Tostar city(Shushtar) - sentenced to death
> Majed Albu Ghubaish from Mashur city (Mashar) - death penalty
> Alireza Asakre from Mashur (Mashar) - sentenced to death
> Ghasem Salamat from Ahwaz city - sentenced to death
> Abdulreza Zergani from Ahwaz city - sentenced to death
> Saeed Hamidan - sentenced to 18 years prison in Ghaen city in Isfahan
> Jalil Moghadam from Ahwaz City - sentenced to 10 years prison in Ashtiyan city in Isfahan

Many others are also incarcerated and their fates have yet to be decided by the Iranian regime.

BAFS has obtained a leaked report from the Bassij addressed to commanders in the Revolutionary Guards which lists 15 suspected terrorists it says have been trained and armed by British army commanders in Iraq. None of those sentenced to death are among those accused in the letter of responsibility for the terrorist attacks. BAFS has enquired about those named in the letter and none are known Ahwazi political activists. The document and a translation can be downloaded here.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "The document we have obtained and published is the only publically available Iranian intelligence report on the Ahwaz bombings. As far as this document is concerned, there is no proven link between those who have been incarcerated and sentenced to death and those the Iranian intelligence has supposedly identified as terrorists.

"The intelligence document fails to mention any particular Ahwazi group involved in the bombings, although the government's line is that the bomb attacks are the work of several exiled political parties supported by the British, American, Canadian, Israeli and Saudi governments and oil companies.

"As the trials of those accused have been held in camera with even defence lawyers being barred from representing their clients in court, we have no way of judging the veracity of the intelligence used to prosecute the accused.

"As far as we are concerned, 20 innocent people are about to lose their lives and liberty without any proper legal representation or any evidence. Their crime appears to be their ethnicity and political beliefs, rather than any proven terrorist activity."

Related stories::
Son of Ahwazi sentenced to death appeals to Kofi Annan - 27 July
Urgent Appeal to EU Foreign Affairs Chief over Iran Executions - 11 JulyIran: Retry Ethnic Arabs Condemned to Death - 24 June
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
Son of Ahwazi sentenced to death appeals to Kofi Annan

Son of Ahwazi sentenced to death appeals to Kofi Annan

The young son of Zamel Bawi, who has been sentenced to death after a show trial by the Iranian regime, has delivered a heart-wrenching appeal to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to intervene to save his father's life.

Zamel Bawi is among several Ahwazi Arabs who have endured months of torture in Iran following bomb attacks in Ahwaz last year. He and his brothers, who are sons of moderate Ahwazi tribal leader Hajj Salem Bawi, have all been charged with "waging war on God".

Zamel's son writes: "I have spent my nights wailing, crying and appealing to God who advised me to ask you for help. God of the universe told me that there still exist a few people on this earth who believe in justice, rightness, and truth. God also told me that some of his decent humankinds who will be able to help are people like you, those who organize to protect human rights and humanity, and those just loving people.

"Please help quickly with all means, I do not want to be disappointed about the United Nations and those human loving organization in the world.

"I love my father; I want to grow up with a father who cares for and loves me. I want him to hug me, console me and feel for me. Please do not let them tpunish me by depriving me of my father's kindness and love. Trust and believe me that my father does not deserve to be executed. He speaks for freedom and aspires for it like many did before him and sought justice for humankind.

"Mr. Kofi Annan, since the death sentence was issued against my father, my mother has been hospitalized. During this period there is no one who takes care of me, there was no one I could speak to about my sadness. Until I saw you on the TV talking about freedom and justice, It came to my mind as my God told me to appeal to you, the human rights organization, and appeal to America, Canada, European countries and to all children of the world to stand with me and with all those children whose fathers might be executed at any time by the Iranian anti-human regime. I am appealing to you: please ask them to return my father to me and please to prevent them from the killing my father. I have nothing but him in this world and I need him back. Who could bring happiness and the love to me, but him? Please help me as soon as possible and as much as you can.

"People of the world, innocent children of the world, please include your voice with mine so that I can be heard loudly and say: do not kill my father. Please call with me for his release, my call alone is not enough since I called and cried many times alone, but I could not do any thing. Please help me so that I can stop the death sentence against my father and fathers of other Ahwazi children. Please, please, please."

Click here to download the full text of the letter from the Ahwazi Studies website.

Related stories::
Urgent Appeal to EU Foreign Affairs Chief over Iran Executions - 11 JulyIran: Retry Ethnic Arabs Condemned to Death - 24 June
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
BAFS launches collaborative Arab language blog

BAFS launches collaborative Arab language blog

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has launched a collaborative blog run by Ahwazis in its effort to support access to the alternative media for the Ahwazi community. AHWAZ BLOG allows Ahwazi supporters of minority rights and democratic revolution in Iran to write in their own words.

Blog membership is open to any Ahwazi who is committed to non-violent resistance, democratic politics and free speech. It is not supportive of any particular party line.

To get involved, please write to the blog administrator: yamamah20 @ ahwazmedia . com
Ahwazi Unrest Threatens Oil Markets - Moody's

Ahwazi Unrest Threatens Oil Markets - Moody's

A Moody's economist has warned that unrest in Ahwaz (Khuzestan) could send global oil prices soaring.

Speaking to Dow Jones Market Watch, Rakesh Shankar indicated that sabotage of oil pipelines running through the Ahwazi Arab homeland in southwestern Iran is a greater threat than the country's involvement in the Lebanese crisis, which he claimed would "largely be relegated to bombast, rather than any particular action."

"Destabilizing agents within Iran's Southern Khuzestan province, home to the vast majority of Iran's oil reserves, could attack and damage one of Iran's oil targets," he said.

"This is a very real threat, and one that would be immensely destabilizing both to the Iranian government and to oil markets."

Oil installations have been the target of saboteurs since the Ahwazi intifada against the Iranian regime began in April 2005. The Ahwazi homeland holds up to 90 per cent of Iran's oil reserves and represents around 10 per cent of OPEC's total output. Large oilfields have been virtually untapped and represent an important financial resource to sustain the regime in the future - as well as immense power over global markets.

Oil reserves and pipelines in the Ahwazi Arab homelandThe Ahwazi Arabs have paid a heavy price for Iran's greed for oil. In 1925, the autonomous sheikhdom of Arabistan was invaded by the forces of Reza Pahlavi, who went on to overthrow the Qajar dynasty to become the Shah of Persia. Since then, Ahwazi lands have been confiscated, the indigenous Arab culture has been oppressed and the local population has endured war and poverty. Attempts by local members of parliament to redistribute a fraction of oil revenues back to the region have been blocked by hard-liners. Growing frustration has led many Ahwazi Arabs to attack the oil industry, which they regard as the source of their problems and the regime's Achilles' Heel. In their desperation, the Ahwazi Arabs are beginning to realise that regime could to be brought to its knees if oil supplies are disrupted by a relentless Ahwazi intifada, but the rest of the world will also feel the heat.

Some Ahwazi Arab tribal leaders have been politically co-opted and armed by the regime to help guard oil installations. They have an in-depth knowledge of the pipeline infrastructure. If the current ethnic repression continues, it is possible that some members of these tribes will attack the installations they were meant to be guarding.

Sabotage acts have been focused on pipelines feeding the 450,000 barrels per day capacity refinery in Abadan on Iran's border with Iraq. The Abadan refinery represents around 30 per cent of Iran's total refining capacity.

Disruptions to oil supply in Ahwaz on a scale seen in the Niger Delta will have global economic and political implications. Any major attack on Abadan refinery, which represents over a quarter of Iran's refining capacity, or export pipelines from Al-Ahwaz's massive oilfields will hit the country's oil exports as well as its own fuel supplies.

Links

Number of Ahwaz dead rises, oil installations attacked - 19 April 2005
Oil wells sabotaged in Ahwazi Arab homeland - 3 September 2005Iran loses thousands of barrels of oil in attack - 12 September 2005
Iran's oil exports in danger due to rising Ahwaz unrest - 8 March 2006
Second attack on Ahwaz-Abadan pipeline - 21 March 2006
NEW AHWAZI WEBSITE LAUNCHED

NEW AHWAZI WEBSITE LAUNCHED

This week Ahwazi activists launched a new promotional website for Ahwazi democrats, AHWAZ MEDIA.

The website contains the latest news from the Ahwazi Arab homeland as well as a store selling pro-Ahwazi products, book recommendations and the latest programmes from Al-Ahwaz TV.

Visitors are able to read opinions on debates relevant to Ahwazi Arabs and other Iranian minorities and are given a chance to express their opinions in an on-line poll.

AHWAZ MEDIA is the largest English language website dedicated to Ahwazis and is set to become a crucial part of Ahwazi advocacy and solidarity campaigns in the West. With Iran's state repression of the persecuted and impoverished Ahwazi Arab minority increasing under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, AHWAZ MEDIA is an important link between Ahwazi activists and the outside world.
UN Special Rapporteur condemns Iran's treatment of minorities

UN Special Rapporteur condemns Iran's treatment of minorities

UN Special Rapporteur on housing, Miloon Kothari, has released a damning report on Iran's housing conditions, singling out ethnic and religious minorities and women as suffering discrimination.

Kothari visited Iran in July 2005 to assess living conditions and made a special visit to Ahwaz (Khuzestan), where he saw for himself the level of discrimination against Arabs, including land confiscations.

In his report submitted to the UN Economic and Social Council, he states that: "In Kermanshah and Khuzestan, the overall living conditions in poor neighbourhoods mainly inhabited by Kurds, Arabs and Muslim Sufis were extremely unsatisfactory. Particularly serious conditions were observed in places like Ghal'e Channan and Akhar Asfalt in Ahvaz with, in some cases, a complete lack of basic services impacting negatively on the populations' health status, in addition to contributing to severe security problems. Most poor neighbourhoods were unpaved, open-air sewage was sometimes observed and uncollected garbage blocked streets, obstructing traffic and access from the outside in case of emergencies."

The Special Rapporteur "visited lands traditionally cultivated by Iranian Arabs, which were expropriated by the Government for remarkably low prices in order to provide space for development projects and plantations, such as the Dekhoda sugar-cane project. The affected population had no access to legal remedies to challenge the legitimacy and legality of the expropriation orders and existing legal remedies only enabled the inhabitants to initiate discussions related to the price offered for their lands. Allegedly, even in the very few cases in which the prices were slightly raised by courts, they were still fixed much lower than market values. The affected population was not consulted before or during the expropriation procedure.

"Expropriations for the implementation of development projects have been especially criticized in view of the considerable amount of unutilized rural land, where displacement would be minimal, and which was already owned by the Government, where such projects could be located."

Kothari's initial observations led to a cross-party motion of condemnation of land confiscation in Ahwaz by the European Parliament, with some politicians such as Paulo Casaca MEP stating that the Iranian government was carrying out a policy of systematic ethnic cleansing against Ahwazi Arabs.

Click here to download the full report.
Urgent Appeal to EU Foreign Affairs Chief over Iran Executions

Urgent Appeal to EU Foreign Affairs Chief over Iran Executions

The Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation has issued the following appeal to Javier Solana, High Representative for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, over continuing executions and human rights violations against Ahwazis by the Iranian regime:

We are writing to inform you of the imminent execution of 10 ethnic Arab-Iranian (Ahwazi Arab) youth in Ahwaz, provincial capital of Khuzestan in southwestern Iran.

On June 7 and 8 the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Ahwaz, in secret trials, sentenced these human rights activists to death. They are awaiting the execution order from the Supreme Court in Tehran. Their names are as follows:
1. Yahia Nasseri
2. Nazem Boraihi
3. Abdolemam Zaeri
4. Abdolzahar olichi
5. Hamza Sawaeri
6. Jafar Sawari
7. Reisan Sawari
8. Abdolreza Nawaseri
9. Ali Helfi
10. Zamel Bawi

After the public hanging of Ali Afrawi (age 17) and Mehdi Nawaseri (20 years old) in Ahwaz and seven other political prisoners inside prisons in March and April of this year, the Iranian regime is once again embarking on a new wave of executions of Ahwazi Arabs.

Last month, Prosecutor-General Iraj Amirkhani, in an interview with Iranian official news agency ISNA, announced that 22 Ahwazi Arab political activists had been arrested and are expected to be tried and sentenced to death. These men, like the 10 named above, are also being tried in secret without the presence of independent observers. They are accused of being "Mohareb" or enemies of god which carries death sentence. Other charges are "Destablizing the Country", "attempt to overthrow the government", "possession of home made bombs" and "sabotage of oil installations". However, no evidence has been presented. The government has accused them of working as agents for the US, the UK and Israel, and claimed they have received training in Iraq. Again, the regime has failed to produce any evidence.

This brings the Ahwazi men who face death and risk of executions to thirty two. This number includes three brothers, university students, who are among a number of activists listed below:
1. Imad Bawi
2. Mohsen Bawi
3. Taregh Obiat
4. Dr Awdeh Afrawi
5. Tarigh Obeyat
6. Ali Manbouhi
7. Jallil Bureihi
8. Hadi Bateyli
9. Mohammad Sawari
10. Moslem Al-Ha'
11. Saeed Hameydan
12. Abdulamam M Zaeri
13. Abdulzahra Khazali
14. Hamzeh Lefteh
15. Aliredha Salman Delfi
16. Ali Matouri-Zadeh

We are also concerned about the arrest of the wives and young children of political activists in what appears to be an attempt to pressure them into making false confessions or returning from exile. Ali Matourzadeh and his wife Fahima Ismaili Badawi have been detained since February 28; Fahima gave birth to their daughter, Salma, in Sepidar Prison in Ahwaz in March. Matourzadeh is founder of the reformist Hizb-i Vifaq (Unity Party). His whereabouts are unknown, while his wife and daughter are being held at Sepidar Prison in Khuzestan Province. Amnesty International has suggested Fahima and Salma are being held in order to force Ali Matourzadeh to cooperate and the group demanded their unconditional release.
Other recently arrested Ahwazi women and children are:

1. Ma'soumeh Ka'abi (f) and her sons Imad (m), aged 4, she is the wife of political activists, Habib Nabgan. (Released and re-arrested several times).

2. Sograh Khudayrawi (f) and her son Zeidan (m) aged 4. Her husband’s name is Khalaf Khudayrawi, who is currently being held at Sepidar Prison.

3. Sakina Naisi (f), mother of five and wife of Ahwazi opposition activist Ahman Naisi.

4. Hoda Hawashem (f) and her son Osameh (m), aged 2 and her other son Ahmad (m), aged 4 and wife of opposition activist, Habib Faraj-allah.

Iran and its ally Syria are also violating the Geneva Conventions on refugees by returning or threatening to return Ahwazi refugees registered with the UNHCR back to Iran, where they face arrest and likely torture and execution. Iranian Arab refugee Saeed ‘Awda al-Saki was arrested on 11 May in the Syrian capital, Damascus, at the request of the Iranian authorities. He was forcibly returned to Iran three days later and now is held incommunicado at an undisclosed place. Saeed ‘Awda al-Saki, is registered and recognized as a political refugee by the UNHCR. According to Amnesty International he is also facing torture and ill-treatment, and possibly death sentence.

Under pressure from Iran, on May 11, 2006, eight Ahwazi men were detained by the Syrian authorities. These are all mandate holder political refugees, registered and recognized by UNHCR in Syria:
1. Mousa Sawari
2. Issa Alyassin
3. Gamal Obaidy
4. Ahmad Abiat
5. Taher Ali Mazraeh
6. Rasool Mezrea'
7. Jamal 'Abdawi
Three of the above have been released and four remain in detention in Syria. Faleh 'Abdullah al-Mansouri, a Dutch national, has also been detained and has yet to be released.

Since the Ahwazi Intifada (uprising) began on April 15, 2005, more than 25,000 Ahwazis have been detained, at least 131 have been executed and over 150 have "disappeared" (believed to have been tortured and killed by Iranian security forces). Confiscation of Ahwazi Arab farmland, forced displacement and other measures of ethnic cleansing and ethnic restructuring are other examples of repression and persecution of Arab ethnic minority in Iran. Iranian authorities level accusations against the US, UK and Israel as the cause of Ahwazi demands for democracy, social and economic justice.

We urge you and the Council of EU to take immediate action to prevent the executions of these political prisoners.

Links:
Iran: Retry Ethnic Arabs Condemned to Death - 24 June
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
Ahwazi Issue Raised at the United Nations

Ahwazi Issue Raised at the United Nations

The abuse of Ahwazi Arabs' human rights has been raised at the United Nations Human Rights Council amid mounting concerns over Iran's treatment of political prisoners, including minors and babies, who belong to the persecuted Ahwazi Arab ethnic group.

In a written statement, the Transnational Radical Party, which has general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), followed up on a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Miloon Kothari published in August last year. He accused the Iranian regime of serious discrimination and the forced displacement of Arabs for the construction of industrial projects and ethnically exclusive settlements in Khuzestan (click here for TRP statement). TRP followed up the statement outlining the regime's "ten year project of ethnic restructuring and confiscation of Arab land" and its "forced resettlement policy to displace the Ahwazis out of Khuzestan to settle 'loyal' ethnic Persians on the expropriated Arab farmlands. Ahwazis are being perceived as disloyal, suspicious and a security risk, who some day may reclaim the oil rich land of Khuzestan." (click here to download the statement)

TRP adds that in the past 15 years, "over 250,000 hectares of Ahwazi farmers land in regions of Jufir, Shosh, Hoizeh, Hamidieh have been forcefully confiscated and given to Persian settlers in violation of the article 4.5 of the United Nations Declaration on Minorities."

Referring to a letter written by Vice-President Ali Abtahi in 1999 which was leaked to the international media last year (click here to download the Abtahi letter), TRP states that it is the regime's intention to reduce the Ahwazi Arab population from a 70% majority to a 1/3 minority by the end of the decade. More than one million non-indigenous Persians have been moved into settlements such as Ramin-2 and Shirin-Shahr.

TRP adds that "ethnic Ahwazi children are being deprived from the use and study of their mother language and people are being denied participation in public life and in decisions affecting them. The illiteracy rate is 4 to 5 times higher than non-Arabs and unemployment is 4 times the national average."

Another international NGO with ECOSOC consultative status, the International Federation for the Protection of the Rights of Ethnic, Religious, Linguistic & Other Minorities (IFPRERLOM), also highlighted Mr Kothari's findings in a written statement submitted to the UNHRC (click here to download statement). It urged the Council "to follow up on the recommendation made by the UN Special Rapporteur on HousingRights; and to provide adequate compensation, support and consultancy with indigenous populations affected by development projects, whilst promoting and protecting the rights of minorities in Iran." In a separate statement (click here to download), IFPRERLOM drew attention to further human rights abuses, including the imprisonment of children and pregnant women, summary executions carried out after the April 2005 uprising, the use of torture against Ahwazis held in detention and a number of death sentences carried out by the regime. It urged the UNHCR:
- to urgently alert UN Secretary General, HE Kofi Annan, to the current situation in Iran regarding the human rights situation in Khuzestan;
- to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of the remaining Ahwazi women and children being held in prison;
- to call, as a matter of urgency, for a follow-up to the initial request by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to the government of Iran toarrange a visit; and
- to put renewed pressure on Iran to end practices of unlawful arbitrary detention, execution and acts of repression against the indigenous Ahwazi Arabs, Balochis and other minority groups in Iran, especially with regard to minors.