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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."

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