Amnesty International has issued a statement claiming that Syria violated international law by deporting five Ahwazis, most of them refugees, to Iran in May. (click here to download)
In an urgent action published today, Amnesty says that Ahwaz Liberation Organisation (ALO) leader Faleh Abdullah al-Mansouri, Abdulrasool Mezrea, Jamal Obeidawi and Taher Ali Mezrea, who were deported under a bilateral agreement between Syria and Iran, are now "at risk of torture, ill-treatment, and possibly execution."
The four were arrested by Political Security officers in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on 11 May, along with three other men - Musa Suwari, Ahmad Abd al-Jaber Abiat, and Issa Yassin al-Musawi. Amnesty's appeal states that "they were reportedly held incommunicado at an unknown location. According to reports, Musa Suwari, Ahmad Abd al-Jaber Abiat and Issa Yassin al-Musawi were released between 11 May and 19 May.
"Most of the men are said to have been recognised as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Faleh ‘bdullah al-Mansuri has since acquired Dutch nationality ... Returning refugees or any other individual to a country where they are at risk of torture or ill-treatment or other serious human rights abuses is a violation of Syria's obligations under international law, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which it is a state party."
Amnesty adds that there is no further information on Said Awda al-Saki, an Ahwazi refugee registered with the UNHCR, who was arrested at the same time as the men named above, and was reportedly forcibly returned to Iran on 14 May. He is now held incommunicado at an undisclosed location, according to the human rights organisation.
Ahwazi Arabs unite against Syrian "treachery" - 11 August
Netherlands abandons Dutch Ahwazi activist - 11 August
Syria deports Ahwazis to Iran, including Dutch national - 9 August
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