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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...

Five Ahwazis transferred, execution expected

Five Ahwazi Arab cultural activists who recently had their death sentences confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court were transferred to an unknown location on Friday morning (18 January) amid condemnation by the British government which has called for their release.

Prison officials told relatives of the men that they had been taken into custody by the intelligence services. The men, all from Khalafieh (Ramshir) and involved in the Al-Hewar (Dialogue) organisation, were arrested in 2011 and accused of "enmity with God", "corruption on earth" and "acting against national security." They were forced to confess following nine months of psychological and physical torture and later retracted their statements.

On of the five is Mohammad Ali Amouri, a UNHCR-registered refugee who was forcibly and illegally repatriated to Iran by the Iraqi authorities following pressure by the Iranian Consul in Basra.

The death sentences have attracted criticism from a number of governments and international agencies. On Friday (18 January), the British Foreign Office released a statement appealing to the Iranian authorities to overturn the death sentences and ensure they are not mistreated. It said: "These men have reportedly suffered severe mistreatment, including torture, and two were forced to confess on live television. Whilst the charges are as yet unclear, they appear to be politically motivated."

The executions were also raised in a House of Commons debate on human rights in Iran this week. Matthew Offord MP said "they have been sentenced not because they are criminals or have done anything to offend the state, but because they are all part of the Ahwazi minority, an ethnic group that the mullahs and the Iranian Government are determined to wipe out."

The five facing imminent execution include:
  • Mohammad Ali Amouri Nejad, 33, a fisheries engineer arrested in February 2011
  • Hashem Shaabani, 31, married with one child, arrested in February 2011
  • Hadi Rashedi, 37, single with a post-graduate qualification in chemistry, arrested in February 2011
  • Jabar al-Boushokeh, 27, married with one child, employee of his father's rock-grinding business and involved in social welfare activities, arrested in March 2011
  • Mokhtar al-Boushokeh, 25, who was one year into his military services and is the brother of Jabar al-Boushokeh.
Four other Ahwazi Arabs were sentenced to death in September:
  • Abdulreza Amir Khanafereh, son of Younes, 25 years old, single
  • Abdul Amir Mojadami, aged 32, married 
  • Shahab Abbasi, son of Ahmad, aged 26, single 
  • Ghazi Abbasi, son of Ahmad, aged 30, single