|Hadi Rashedi before his arrest|
|Hadi Rashedi "confessing" on Press TV|
Ahwazi political prisoner Hadi Rashedi has been moved from Karoon Prison to an undisclosed location, prompting fears that he is in danger of imminent execution. According to informed sources, he had pledged to begin a hunger strike if he was taken from prison, despite his ill health.
Rashedi is among five members of the Arab cultural organisation Al-Hewar (Dialogue) who were arrested in February 2011 and convicted in July 2012 of "enmity with God", "corruption on earth" and "acting against national security." They were sentenced to death and their death sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court in January 2013. Since then, the five have been frequently taken from their cells and held for days at secret prisons run by the intelligence services, where they have been tortured.
Rashedi is 38 years old and is unmarried. A highly qualified post-graduate with an MSc in chemistry, he worked in local high schools as a teacher. He has a keen interest in cultural issues and is an advocate for the poor. He suffers from heart disease and as such is exempt from military service. During his imprisonment, he has suffered considerable mental stress, developing a serious digestive disorder as a result. As a result of beatings, he has a fractured hip. He appeared in a documentary aired by Iran’s Press TV in which he was forced to confess to firing a gun at buildings housing security personnel and government officials in Khalafabad. He was described as a member of the ‘Khalq-e Arab’, although no single organisation operates with this name.
Four other members of Al-Hewar facing execution are:
- Mohammad Ali Amouri Nejad, 33, a fisheries engineer arrested in February 2011
- Hashem Shaabani, 31, married with one child, 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.
Shaabani was moved from Karoon prison to an undisclosed location two weeks ago, prompting concern that he was also in danger of imminent execution. All five men have held hunger strikes during their incarceration in a desperate attempt to protest their innocence.
The sentences for the five men have been condemned by United Nations special rapporteurs, the European Parliament, members of the British parliament, the German Foreign Ministry, the British Foreign Secretary, the US State Department and other international and Iranian human rights organisations. Press TV has been put under EU sanctions for broadcasting the forced confessions.
Four other Ahwazi Arabs were sentenced to death in September 2012 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