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Arrests at funeral for Ahwazi poet

Iranian security forces have detained dozens of Ahwazi Arabs at the funeral of Ahwazi poet Sattar al-Sayahi, who died in mysterious circumstances two weeks after his release from detention for questioning.

Arab activists widely believe the poet, popularly known as Abu Surror, was assassinated. The authorities had attempted to prevent him from involvement in a variety of Arab cultural activities.

Hundreds of Ahwazi Arab mourners turned out to Abu Surror's funeral where they expressed their sorrow and anger at his death. Clashes erupted between the mourners and the paramilitary forces of the Bassij as the funeral became an expression of opposition against the regime's anti-Arab policies.

Karim Abdian, director of the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO), has called on international society to pressure the Iranian government into investigating Abu Surror's death and release those detained at his funeral. Abdian reiterated demands by the Ahwazi Arab opposition for UN Special Rapporteurs to be allowed access to Al-Ahwaz and investigate human rights violations.

In contrast to Abu Surror's suspicious death, the murder of blogger Sattar Beheshti, an ethnic Persian, in custody has prompted swift action by the authorities with a number of those involved in his interrogation now held in custody. Beheshti's case continues to dominate headlines across the world due to efforts by wealthy Persian groups who have ignored the plight of non-Persians suffering similar human rights violations. The authorities have failed to investigate eight deaths of Ahwazi Arabs in custody so far this year.

Video of the funeral of Abu Surror