Relative Of Hanged Ahwazis Calls for International Prosecution Of Judges

A relative of two executed Ahwazi Arabs is calling on the international community to issue a warrant for the arrest of two Iranian judge...

Ahwazi Appeal to UN over Iran's Human Rights Abuses

An appeal by the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO) to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon:

We are writing to inform you of the
imminent execution of four more ethnic Arab-Iranians (Ahwazi-Arabs) in Ahwaz, provincial capital of Khuzestan in southwestern Iran - homeland to 5 million Ahwazi-Arabs. The news of their impending executions has come from their families, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, the Human Rights & Democracy Activists and from Mr. Musa Pirbani, Khuzestan’s prosecutor in an interview with the Iranian News Agency on Wednesday, September 13, 2007.

On 10 September, three Ahwazis were executed in defiance of the UN and international law, just days after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, visited Iran. At least six more Ahwazi political prisoners are facing imminent execution. Four of them are being moved to a cell in Karoon prison in Ahwaz reserved for imminent execution of prisoners. Their names are as follows:

1. Hamzah Sawari, 20 years old
2. Zamel Bawi
3. Abdulemam Zaeri
4. Nazem Boryhi

The charges against them include hoisting the Ahwazi flag, naming their children Sunni names, converting from Shi'ism to Sunnism and preaching Wahabbism and being "Mohareb" or enemies of god, which carries death sentence. Other charges are "destabilizing the country", "attempting to overthrow the government", "possession of improvised explosives", "sabotage of oil installations" and being a "threat to national security".

Last year, Mr. Emadeldin Baghi, a leading Iranian human rights activist, in a letter to the chief of the judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, has argued that the trials of Ahwazi Arabs were flawed, the charges baseless, and that the sentencing was based on a spurious interpretation of law and that no evidence has been presented. Mr. Nkbakht, a prominent defense lawyer in Iran, made a similar statement. Others such as Presidency of the European Council, the UN general Assembly, 48 British MPs, the EU Parliament, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned their trials as unjust and unfair and appealed for a halt to further execution.

This new wave of execution is the latest in a series of barbaric hangings, designed to intimidate On 10 January 2007, independent experts appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Mr. Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr. Leandro Despouy, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, and Mr. Manfred Nowak, the Special Rapporteur on torture, issued a joint statement urging the Iranian Government to "stop the imminent execution of seven men belonging to the Ahwazi Arab minority and grant them a fair and public hearing “. Despite that plea, on 14 February, 2007 Ghasem Salami, 41, married with 6 children, Majad Albughbish, 30, single, were executed in Ahwaz by public hanging and a day later Mr. Risan Sawari, a 32 years old Ahwazi-Arab teacher was killed under torture in Karoon prison.

This is in addition to four executions on 24 January 2007 (Mohammad Chaabpour, Abdolamir Farjolah Chaab, Alireza Asakereh and Khalaf Khanafereh) and three on 19 December 2006 (Malek Banitamim, Abdullah Solaimani and Ali Matorizadeh). This brings the number of executions of Ahwazi Arab political and human rights activists in the past 9 months to at least 13.

The executions are in the context of a brutal clamp-down on Ahwazi Arabs protesting against ethnic discrimination and persecution. Although the Ahwazi Arab homeland in Iran's Khuzestan province is one of the most oil-rich regions in the world and represents up to 90 per cent of Iran's oil production, the community endures extreme levels of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Ahwazis are subjected to repression, racial discrimination and faced with land confiscation, forced displacement and forced assimilation.

We appeal to you to condemn the latest wave of execution and call upon Iranian authorities to halt the imminent execution of the others. We also appeal to you to call upon Iran to ensure due legal process in accordance with internationally recognized standards and to uphold its obligations with regard to civil and political rights, including the provision of equal rights to ethnic, religious and minority groups in Iran- such as the indigenous Ahwazi-Arabs.

For further information, please see a dossier of other human rights violations against indigenous and ethnic Ahwazi-Arabs in Iran.