Amnesty International issued an appeal for the release of Ahwazi Arab journalist Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya, who has been given a three year prison sentence for criticising the Iranian regime.
Amnesty has declared that Fallahiya is a "prisoner of conscience detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association" and has expressed concern that he is "at risk of torture or ill-treatment." Fallahiya suffers from sickle cell anaemia, a common condition among Ahwazi Arabs, as well as a heart condition but is reportedly being denied medical treatment. He requires constant treatment with antibiotics and access to medical examinations. His relatives fear he may die if he is not treated.
Since November 2006, he has been imprisoned in Section 209 of Evin Prison, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence which uses it to torture political prisoners and conduct summary killings. A number of other prominent Ahwazis are being held in Section 209, including 60 year old Dutch national Faleh Abdullah al-Mansouri and UNHCR-registered refugees abducted from Syria last year.
On 21 April, he was reportedly sentenced to three years' imprisonment with hard labour. According to Amnesty International, "he was not afforded legal representation at any point in the judicial process, in violation of international fair trial standards."
Fallahiya is the managing editor of Aqlam al-Talaba (The Students' Pens), a publication issued by the students in Ahwaz University in
Khuzestan province. He is also a correspondent for several Arab television and radio broadcasting news agencies including Abu Dhabi TV and Radio, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a journalist for the Lebanese al-Mustaqbal broadcasting
Meanwhile, another prominent Ahwazi Arab journalist, Youssef Azizi Bani Torouf, is facing accusations by supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he is a pan-Arabist and is in contact with British and Israeli intelligence services. Ahwazi activists fear that he may soon be taken into custody due to the allegations against him and attempts to kidnap his son, a UNHCR-registered refugee in Syria.
Click here for Amnesty's appeal for Mohammad Hassan Fallahiya's release