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Ahwazi journalist and writer condemned as "pan-Arabist"

Tehran-based Ahwazi Arab journalist and writer Youssef Azizi Bani Torouf (pictured) has been condemned as a pan-Arabist in league with Britain by the hardline pro-Ahmadinejad website Raja News (click here for article).

Bani Torouf was condemned by Raja News for publishing articles on the London-based Arabic language news website Elaph, which it describes as the "Arabic BBC". He has faced a number of attacks from the Iranian establishment for writing on the situation affecting Ahwazi Arabs.

Bani Torouf, who has written over 20 books in both Arabic and Farsi, was arrested following the Ahwazi Arab intifada in April 2005 but released weeks later after leading a prison hunger strike against the use of torture, poor prison conditions and detention without trial. In March, his son 20 year old Afnan was among a group of Ahwazi refugees who were arrested and detained in Syria in preparation for deportation to Iran. The refugees were released in April following an intensive lobbying campaign by Ahwazi, Syrian and international human rights groups and appeals by Bani Torouf in the Arabic media.

Bani Torouf has been threatened with arrest and prosecution in relation to hardline claims that he supports separatism, although he has stated that the "Arabs of Khuzestan, as a nation or an ethnic group or whatever you like to call it, are inseparable parts of the Iranian nation." The accusations in Raja News are an attempt to warn and silence him.