Three Ahwazis face execution after Eid
Three Ahwazis have been sentenced to death on trumped up charges of theft in order to intimidate Iran's restive Ahwazi Arab population.
Twelve people were convicted of armed robbery in Ahwaz, Ramez, Tostar and Amedeya, involving the theft of 22 cows, 104 sheep, a television set and one million toman (US$1,100) in cash, according to the government-owned Rozan newspaper.
A local Persian language newspaper reported the following sentences for theft:
- Abbas (aka Zeabel), 33 years old - public execution, 300 lashes and five million rials (US$550) fine
- Hamad, 45 years old - 10 years imprisonment, public execution
- Al C (aka Ka'abi), 37 years old - 10 years imprisonment, public execution
- Rahim A (aka Askarawi and Bejawi) - amputation of right hand and left foot, 10 years imprisonment
- Sabbah M - amputation of right hand and left foot, 10 years imprisonment
- Hanash A (aka Kasraji) - 10 years imprisonment, 74 lashes
- Salah Sh - 10 years imprisonment, 74 lashes
- Karim Sh (aka Bader Na'ami) - 10 years imprisonment, 74 lashes
- Marzogh A, 45 years old - 10 years imprisonment, 74 lashes
- Mohammed Sh, 43 years old - 10 years imprisonment, 74 lashes
- Jalil Kh (aka Jenadeleh), 27 years old - 10 years imprisonment, 74 lashes
- Sadegh L - 10 years imprisonment, 74 lashes
Nasser Bani Assad, spokesman for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), said: "The nature and timing of the convictions and the harshness of the punishments meted out by the courts is alarming. We do not pretend that Ahwazis do not commit crime or that the region does not suffer its share of criminality. But we are aware that the regime wants to use executions, amputations, beatings and long prison sentences against Ahwazis as a show of force. Yet, they are accused of nothing more than theft and could well be entirely innocent, given Iran's poor standards of justice.
"Last year's Eid al-Fitr was marked by peaceful protests by Ahwazis who used the Islamic festival to display their cultural identity. The protests were violently put down by the government and hundreds were subsequently arrested. This year, the regime wants to remind Ahwazis of its cruelty and that it is prepared to kill to silence dissent.
"These sentences are also intended to smear the Ahwazi people, sending out a message to the rest of Iran that Arabs are uncivilised and criminal. Such racism against non-Persian minorities is endemic in Iran - Arabs are criminals, Azeris are stupid, Balochis are drug smugglers, etc - and is intended to justify poor treatment of these groups.
"Like fascism in Europe, the Iranian regime is resorting to state terrorism and racism to divide and rule the Iranian population."