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...

Iran: Ahwazi Arab youth died in custody over pro-Palestinian protests, say reports

Iran: Ahwazi Arab youth died in custody over pro-Palestinian protests, say reports Ahwazi Arab brothers aged 18 and eight and another youth have been arrested by Iranian security forces, reportedly in relation to Arab unrest in Ahwaz City.

The pro-secessionist Ahwazna website reported on May 15 that 18-year old Mohammed Saadoun Algelada, his eight year-old brother Majed and a friend called Karim were arrested, possibly in connection with Mohammed's involvement in recent Gaza solidarity protests. Ahwazna has published a video that it claims shows Mohammed involved in a pro-Palestinian protest in 2008.

According to Ahwazna, the three youths were arrested in early May and tortured, leading to the death of Mohammed Saadoun Algelada in custody. The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has no way of verifying these claims due to the suppression of the media in Iran and a lack of any effective human rights non-governmental organisations there.

In January, the Iranian government arrested dozens of Ahwazi Arabs while violently putting down protests in Ahwaz City against Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip. The protests were not sanctioned by the Iranian regime, which has sought to clamp down on any expression of Arab identity in Iran, including support for the Palestinian Arabs.
Iran's summary executions of Ahwazi Arabs

Iran's summary executions of Ahwazi Arabs

Ahwazi Arab political prisoner Mohammad Jeldawi was killed by Iranian security force in Ahwaz under the torture, according to reports received by the Danish Ahwazi Friendship Society.

Iranian authorities delivered his burnt body to them. He had been incarcerated with other two Ahwazi Arabs in Ahwaz in 18 April 2009. The other detainees are brothers Majid and Mohammad Jeldawi. Mohammad Jeldawi is just 14 years old and is being tortured. All have been accused of demonstrating against the regime and the persecution of Arabs. They are from Hay al-Thorah, a district of Ahwaz that has seen a number of Arab demonstrations and is regarded as a centre of Arab unrest.

Iraq troop withdrawal will broaden insurgency into Ahwaz

Iraq troop withdrawal will broaden insurgency into Ahwaz

The South Iraq Liberation Front has said it will extend its political struggle inside Iran to secure the "liberation" of the traditionally Arab lands around Ahwaz from Iranian "occupation".

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat the group's secretary general, Awad al-Abadan, insisted that resistance against Iran would be "through civilized dialogue with the rest of the world" which he said was "more powerful than the language of arms". According to al-Abadan, the confusion between legitimate resistance and terrorism meant that armed conflict would not be heeded by the international community. He said: "The front has not decided to use arms because we are not convinced of its usefulness."

On his movement's future programme, al-Abadan said it was focused on "self-defence", but would involve activities in Iranian cities, "since we coordinate with the Iranian opposition movement in the Arab provinces of the Ahwaz region."

He added: "We consider the Ahwaz region as part of the occupied Arab lands. It has nationalist movements that are struggling for independence. Operating within these movements is not intervention in Persian land."

Regarding Iran's influence in Iraq, al-Abadan said: "The most evident manifestations of the cultural occupation of the south are the libraries in the southern provinces that are full of books, leaflets, photographs, banners, and other paraphernalia that are used during the Feast of Ashura and other religious occasions of Iranian origin. These things are cheap to buy and subsidized by the Iranian government. This is in addition to scores of radio stations and satellite channels in Arabic beamed to the people of the south."

Al-Abadan has called for a boycott of Iranian goods in Iraq, complaining that they are flooding the market and creating a state of dependency on Iran. Instead, Iraq should open its market to goods from other Arab states to ensure that Iraqis are not vulnerable to manipulation from Tehran.

On his choice of the city of Basra as the base of the front and its limited activities in the south, Al-Abadan said: "The front began its operations in Basra because Basra was affected most by the Iranian occupation. The Iranian Consulate in Basra meddled in the daily life of Basra directly and on a daily basis without any deterrence. Then the calls for secessionist sectarianism spread to the provinces of Al-Amarah and Al-Nasiriyah. The Iranian occupation is more dangerous than the American and British occupations because the last two will inevitably leave".

Al-Abadan said he expected Iran would attempt to assassinate him, but had no fear of being in Basra. He stated that the front will continue with its activities "until the Iranian occupation and its agents are expelled from the southern provinces."

The South Iraq Liberation Front is associated with the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, Iraq's second-largest Sunni Arab group which is led by the secularist politician Saleh al-Mutlaq. The group opposes the presence of all foreign forces on Iraqi territory, including Iranian-backed operatives.

English PEN: Yousef Azizi Banitorof, Ahwazi Arab writer

English PEN: Yousef Azizi Banitorof, Ahwazi Arab writer

Writer, journalist and human rights activist Yousef Azizi was sentenced on 2 July 2008 to five years in prison for 'acting against national security', 'propaganda against the regime', 'incitement to rebellion' and 'relations with foreign officials', after a two-year trial. He is believed to be charged for his reporting on the allegedly excessive use of force by security forces against demonstrators from the Arab community in the southwestern region of Khuzestan (known locally as Al-Ahwaz).

Yousef Azizi is a member of the Arab ethnic minority, and is known for his writing in support of the rights of Arabs of Khuzestan. He is a founding member of the Iranian Writers Association and has published several books in both Arabic and Farsi.

Yousef Azizi was first arrested on 25 April 2005, and held in solitary confinement until his release on bail on 28 June 2005. Whilst on bail he and his family were subject to constant harassment and surveillance. The sentence was upheld by an appeals court in November 2008, and on 3 November 2008 Azizi left Iran to escape arrest. He remains abroad. English PEN would consider Yousef Azizi to be in great danger if he were to be repatriated, and continues to fear for the safety of his family who remain in Iran.

Yousef Azizi has been an Honorary Member of English PEN since May 2009.

"What PEN Means to Me" by Yousef Azizi

(April 2009)

I had heard of the International PEN, before I became a member of the Iranian Writers' Association in 1978, since it supported Iranian writers who were thrown in Shah's jails for defending unconditional freedom of speech. Naturally, I became more acquainted with this organization after the Iranian revolution in 1979 since the members of our association became easy targets to oppression and persecution as the pressure increased during the thirty years of the new rulers reign.

Being one of their victims, I am a good example of this. I was imprisoned, and along with my children, denied basic human rights in a country which ought to have been our home. When I was released from the solitary confinement near the end of June 2005, I was told, by some colleagues of mine, that the International PEN had declared its solidarity with my cause in a statement issued after their meeting in Portugal that year.

This solidarity had a positive effect on my morale. It strengthened me as I faced repeatedly the Iranian Intelligence Service's summons and finally the Revolutionary court which went on for more than three years. At last, in July 2008, I was sentenced to five years in prison for no other guilt than criticizing the violence exercised by Iranian security forces against peaceful demonstrations in April 2005 in the Arab minority region of Al-Ahwaz, southwest of Iran.

Since then, I have felt that there are strong ties connecting me, an Iranian Arab writer prosecuted in his home, and the International PEN. A connection that was only made richer after I personally met some of the characters in this organization, especially the English PEN. I would also like to use this occasion to recall with great appreciation what the English playwright Harold Pinter did in defending prosecuted and imprisoned Iranian writers.

Iranian writers and journalists have been suffering from extreme censorship of newspapers, media, and books, while what the non-Persian ethnicities - such as Arabs, Kurds, Azeris, Baluch, and Turkaman - have been made to endure such violation of their basic rights as prohibition of education in the language of their ancestors, which is in contradiction with all international laws and the Iranian constitution.

While non-Persian ethnicities comprise about 55% of Iran's population, they - all combined - own less than 2% of the media, publishing companies, and bookshops. The national budget, 90% of which is secured from the petroleum extracted from Al-Ahwaz region, is spent on developing and spreading the Persian language in Iran, along with Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

In this regard, a reform must take place to ensure the equality in linguistic and cultural representation of the Iranian ethnicities.

Call to Obama: Don't sideline Iran's minorities

Call to Obama: Don't sideline Iran's minorities

By Nasser Bani Assad

The British Ahwazi Friendship Society welcomes the freeing of US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi.

International pressure proved effecting in freeing Saberi, in particular US pressure. However, it should be noted that Iran is using carrots and sticks with Washington.

It is clear that Iran has no just, fair or independent judicial system. The system is manipulated by political interests. Saberi's release shows that the Iranian government makes baseless allegations against people and puts people behind bars unlawfully.

Non-Persians are targeted the most by the oppressive regime, according to news reports from Iran. The US government must consider Saberi's case being bound up with the political conflict between Iran and US. But there are are thousands of Iranian detainees, many of them from non-Persian nationalities, who have been falsely accused, imprisoned, tortured and executed due to allegations of spying for the US. Iran claims that all and any non-Persian activists are US-sponsored separatists, even when they do not advocate secession. We therefore demand that President Barack Obama raise the importance of human rights in Iran.

I was watching Voice of America Persian. They have been covering the Saberi case a lot, but have forgotten the ethnic dimension. The Iran media is talking about it, but VoA Persian is dismissing it.

Almost all the major candidates making very strong speeches and promises to consider the minorities rights issue more seriously. But it is only Mehdi Karobi who issued his fourth written statement in support of religious and ethnic minority rights. He named his plan as 'rehabilitating the ethnic and religious rights'. He is highlighting all the unimplemented Iranian constitution articles, specifically articles 3, 12, 13, 15, 19, 26, 41, 44 and 48. He says he will empower the local governments and improves the ethnic rights. This call has prompted more than 300 Ahwazi Arab intellectuals to write in support of Karobi.

This might be the reason why 300 Ahwazi Arab intellectuals wrote in support of Karobi and abandoned 'reformist' presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. They included former Ahwaz member of parliament Jasem Shadid-Zadeh, whose reformist-aligned Arab rights party, Lejnat al-Wefaq, was barred from contesting elections and eventually banned altogether as a supposedly US-backed separatist group. Shadid-zadeh said: "Mr Karobi announced his humanitarian and democratic position of supporting citizen rights, as much as he could and this is because of non-democratic decision making system and also non-existence of civil societies in Iran."

It seems that even Iranian politicians are taking up the minorities issue, aware of its importance, while President Barack Obama is ignoring minority rights, despite many activists being locked up like Ms Saberi on trumped-up charges of espionage. It is time for the world to act and take notice of Iranian minorities and the importance they have in determining the outcome of the election by defending imprisoned activists in the same way as Ms Saberi was defended and eventually released.
Iran's kidnapping of Ahwazi Arab refugees in Iraq

Iran's kidnapping of Ahwazi Arab refugees in Iraq

Iran's Qods Force kidnapped Ahwazi Arab refugee Ali Eid Naseer in Iraq with the acquiescence of the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior on 27 April, according to the Danish Ahwazi Friendship Society.

He was reportedly taken against his will from a refugee camp located near the border with Jordan and close to Trebil. Ali was taken to Ahwaz City via Iraq's Al-Amarah province and is now in the hands of the Iranian intelligence service.

According to local sources, the Qods Force has threatened Ahwazi refugees in Iraq who are registered with the UNHCR and are waiting to be relocated to a safe country.

The kidnapping in Iraq came just days after the Lebanese Hezbollah kidnapped an entire family of Ahwazi Arab refugees from a hospital in Beirut, including a three month-old baby who was recovering from pneumonia.
Iran: Hangings and torture in Ahwaz City

Iran: Hangings and torture in Ahwaz City

Three convicted criminals were hanged in a prison in Ahwaz City in April, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency citing reports from the Karoon newspaper. Two men identified only as Ala H. and Mostafa Kh. were convicted of murder. The men were hanged sometime in the Iranian month of Farvardin, 21 March to 20 April. The third person, convicted for drug trafficking, was not identified.

Meanwhile, the Arab pro-independence website Ahwazna claimed that the sister of Ahwazi Arab militant Abdullah Abdulhussien Kaebi 'Nabiya' was being tortured in prison. Abdulla was killed in Shushtar. Her uncle was hanged for involvement in an Arab uprising against the Iranian government four years ago, named Faleh Kaebi.
Iranian police kill Ahwazi Arab secessionists

Iranian police kill Ahwazi Arab secessionists

Two pro-independence Arab cells have been eliminated, according to the Khuzestan chief of police Commander Sayed Issa Daraie.

The groups were located in Shushtar (Tostar) and Shadegan (Falahiya). The cell in Shoeibia located in Shushtar contained three people, one of them had been killed by the police and the other two arrested. A member of the Bassij was reportedly killed in the raid. All four members of the other group in Shadegan have been arrested.

He also announced the killing of a secessionist in Alavi district (Hay-althowra) of Ahwazi City. He claimed the person had been a trouble-maker, but claimed his death served as punishment.