Amnesty International Belgium held a demonstration outside the Syrian embassy in Brussels on Friday to protest at the detention of Ahwazi refugees in Damascus. Dutch national Faleh Abdullah Al-Mansouri (60), leader of the Ahwaz Liberation Organisation (ALO) which supports independence for Arab regions of Iran, has also been detained illegally by the Syrian authorities.
One detained Ahwazi, Saeed Awdeh al-Saki, who was due to be moved to Norway by the UNHCR, has been removed to Iran by the Syrian authorities where he faces torture and possible execution.
Over the past year, international NGOs and UN agencies have documented the persecution of Ahwazi Arabs in Iran. Many Arabs believe that the Syrian government's decision to detain Ahwazis indicates that President Bashar Al-Assad is willing to sacrifice solidarity with persecuted Arabs for the sake of his new-found allegiance to Tehran.
According to the Gulf Times, the Dutch government has demanded an explanation from Syria over Al-Mansouri's detention. Al-Mansouri has been a resident of Maastricht in the Netherlands since he fled to the country in 1989.
Photos submitted to BAFS by the Ahwaz Liberation Organisation.
Statement by Amnesty Maastricht on the detention of Faleh Abdullah Al-Mansouri (in Dutch)
U.N. tells Syria not to extradite Ahwazi refugees - 7 June 2006, Ya Libnan
Amnesty International report on fear of forcible return and torture of Ahwazi refugees - 2 June 2006, Amnesty International
Syria releases three Ahwazis, but four remain in custody - 19 May 2006, BAFS
Syrian human rights activists arrested amid Ahwazi deportation scandal - 17 May 2006, BAFS
Syria's deportation scandal - 16 May 2006, BAFS
Syria arresting Ahwazi Arabs to please Iran - 16 May 2006, Ya Libnan