|Televised forced confessions of Ahwazi political prisoners|
lead to EU sanctions against Press TV chiefs
Wanted: Morteza Kiasati
Morteza Kiasati, judge of Branch 4 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court, was among nine individuals added to the list of Iranians facing sanctions over human rights abuses. He imposed death penalties on Taha Heidarian, Abbas Heidarian, Abd al-Rahman Heidarian and Ali Sharifi, who were executed in June 2012. The EU states "they were arrested, tortured and hanged without due process."
Last July, the Ahwazi Arab Solidarity Network published a briefing document giving comprehensive information on the execution of four Ahwazi Arabs, including a full English translation of their dramatic appeal to the United Nations in a secret video recording inside prison. Their appeal provided conclusive evidence that their "confessions", aired on Iran's English language satellite channel Press TV, were made following months of torture. Their mass grave is believed to have been recently located in the village of Ghale-tal near Baghmalik.
Wanted: Seyed Mohammad Bagher Moussavi
Seyed Mohammad Bagher Moussavi, a judge at Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court, imposed death sentences on five Ahwazi Arabs - Mohammad Ali Amouri, Hashem Shabani, Hadi Rashedi, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka, Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka - in March 2012 for "activities against national security" and "enmity against God". The sentences were upheld by Iran's Supreme Court on in January 2013. The five were arrested without charge for over a year, tortured and sentenced without due process.
Wanted: Press TV propagandists
Sanctions were also imposed on head of IRIB World Service and Press TV Muhammad Sarafraz and Press TV newsroom director Hamid Reza Emadi who were found responsible "for producing and broadcasting the forced confessions of detainees, including journalists, political activists, persons belonging to Kurdish and Arab minorities and violating internationally recognised rights to a fair trial and due process."
The EU sanctions come following global condemnation of the treatment of Ahwazi Arab political prisoners. This has culminated in a damning statement by UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed this week. In his presentation to the UN Human Rights Council, Shaheed said: "five Ahwazi Arab men were convicted of among other charges 'spreading propaganda against the system' and sentenced to death in connection with their founding of an Arab minority linguistic and cultural organization named 'Al-Hiwar.' Reports from multiple sources indicate that all five men were mistreated or tortured while in detention, and that they were not afforded fair trials. I urge the Iranian government to officially halt the execution of these cultural activists, two of whom are teachers, and to take every effort to investigate the aforementioned allegations."
Four other Ahwazi Arabs were sentenced to death in September and it is feared their death sentences have recently been approved:
- 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