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Four Ahwazi Arabs executed after disappearance

Four Ahwazi Arabs were hanged this week following weeks of confusion over their disappearance from prison.

The men - Abdulreza Amir Khanafereh (26), Ghazi Abbasi (31), Abdulamir Mojdami (33) and Jasem Moghadampanah (28) - were sentenced to death by judge Ali Farhadvand at Branch 1 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court last year. Three others were given life sentences. These sentences were confirmed Judge Reza Farajollahi at the Supreme Court on 13 February 2013.

The men had been taken from Karoun Prison into the custody of the Ministry of Intelligence on 3 November and were denied access to their lawyers and families.

There was confusion as Abdulreza Amir Khanafereh's family was reportedly contacted by the authorities and told he had been executed, but the families of the other three men were kept in the dark. Confirmation was received by all four families today after three days of confusion and conflicting reports.

The men were held by the Ministry of Intelligence for months and tortured. During violent interrogations, they "confessed" to belonging to an armed Ahwazi group, a confession they retracted at their trial. They all come from Fallahiyeh (Shadegan) and were the subject of campaigns by international human rights groups. The death sentences had also been condemned by the European Union and a number of governments, including the UK.

At a funeral procession in Fallahiyeh for an Ahwazi Arab man killed by Iranian security near the border with Iraq, mourners reportedly chanted slogans against the regime and denounced the executions.