Ahwazis recently sentenced to death for "waging war on God" have staged a hunger strike in defiance of the regime's authority.
Six Ahwazis have had their death sentences upheld by the Supreme Court and many others are waiting for their appeals to be heard, although their convictions are based on false charges. One of the detained, Nazem Berihi, was sentenced to death for carrying out bomb attacks in Ahwaz City in 2005, despite being in prison since 2000. The regime has accused those sentenced to death of working as British agents, but has failed to provide any evidence of British involvement in Ahwaz. The executions are widely believed to be a way of terrorising even the most moderate Ahwazi opponent of government policy in an effort to put down the Ahwazi intifada (uprising) that began in April 2005.
Five Ahwazis recently deported to Iran by Syria, including four UNHCR registered refugees resident in Damascus and a Dutch national who was visiting the country, are also believed to be undergoing torture in an effort to force them to confess to false charges (click here for more details).
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