Iranian regime officials in Ahwaz have announced the pending executions of a large number of Ahwazi dissidents currently detained in regime prisons, with 20 facing public execution following what are widely seen as kangaroo trials.
On Tuesday May 19th, the Deputy Public Prosecutor for the Ahwaz region (also known as Khuzestan) announced the imminent trials of more than 20 Ahwazi Arab residents of Hamidieh city on charges of supposed involvement in the killing of three policemen in Hamidieh city. The detainees face execution following the regime’s customary kangaroo trials.
Speaking at a press conference held with the Regional Attorney General, the Deputy Public Prosecutor, Ali Asghar Sadeghi Gondemani, refused to name the accused detainees, causing further trauma to the families of several hundred Ahwazi protesters and human rights activists rounded up during mass arrests in April by Iranian regime forces for their involvement in demonstrations over brutality by the occupying regime, who do not know whether or not their sons are among the 20.
Thousands of Ahwazi Arabs had courageously taken to the streets in peaceful demonstrations on April 15th to mark the tenth anniversary of a previous uprising in 2005 which was murderously put down by repressive apparatuses of regime security services. The 2005 intifada began with rallies in protest at a leaked letter from Mohammed Ali Abtahi, the Vice-President to then-President Khatami, which outlined a regime policy of “Persianization” of the Arab Ahwaz region; despite holding peaceful demonstrations, unarmed protesters were gunned down by regime security personnel and hundreds arrested, with many executed. This year, as on every anniversary of the 2005 uprising, Iranian security forces used live ammunition, electric batons, tear gas, and paintball pellets to disperse protesters, as well as cutting off electricity, water, internet and mobile phone communications to the area, both to punish the people and to ensure that the protesters had difficulty in reporting on the demonstrations.
Following the arrests last month, regime forces used their standard tactics of torturing detainees to obtain false confessions in order to accuse them of various crimes, including theft and robbery, to pave the way for their execution following the equally routine kangaroo trials without legal representation.
During the press conference on May 19th Gondemani made it abundantly clear that the regime will seek what he termed ‘retribution’ against the 20 detainees, claiming that the protests had caused widespread panic and psychological trauma to the occupying regime’s troops, which would see the judiciary dealing ‘strongly’ with the accused Ahwazis, adding that the regime would not turn a blind eye to such acts which he claimed are destabilizing the region.
The regime official complained about a ‘lack of cooperation’ by Ahwazi Arabs with the regime’s occupying forces and police, which he claimed had led to problems in resolving various outstanding issues linked to the recent events; this is widely understood by Ahwazis to be another coded threat to retaliate further against those Ahwazi people who refuse to serve as agents for the regime’s intelligence services and inform on activists supporting Arab freedom and human rights.
In a related case, on Monday, May 11th, Farhad Afsharnya, the regime’s supposed Chief Justice for the Ahwaz region, announced the imminent public execution of two Ahwazi prisoners accused of shooting at a police checkpoint in Hamidieh city.
According to the IRIB news agency, Afsharnya said that the two accused men would stand trial as soon as possible for the shooting near Hamidieh before being publicly executed. The legal proceedings are widely expected to be another farcical kangaroo trial simply providing supposed legitimacy to the regime’s campaign of persecution of Ahwazi peoples. Indeed, the Ahwazi National Resistance, which has claimed responsibility for the incident at a temporary checkpoint in the village of Gamboa near Hamidieh in which three regime security officers were killed and two others injured, has announced that none of its members have been arrested, meaning that the regime’s intelligence agents who arrested the two men charged with it are fully aware that the men were uninvolved.
Reacting to the latest announcements, Ahwazi human rights groups have once again condemned the Iranian regime’s barbaric public executions, which are escalating as the regime intensifies its savage repression of ethnic minorities, particularly Ahwazi Arab people, and calling for a swift reaction from the international community.
The rights groups pointed out that the primary goal of such executions is to intimidate further and terrorise Ahwazi Arabs into silence and submission following a wave of protests for freedom and human rights which have swept the Ahwazi and Kurdish regions.
We urge the international community to condemn the severe and murderous injustice and repression inflicted on minority ethnic groups in Iran, whose only ‘crime’ is to demand the fundamental human rights which are accorded to all peoples by the UN’s founding charter. Many sources have confirmed that the regime is escalating the already extremely high rates of arrests and execution in order to terrorize and intimidate the people back into silence in order to control the unrest and quash protests which threaten the future and geographical integrity of the totalitarian theocratic regime’s so-called state.
It is urgent that the United Nations take a stand and urge Iran to immediately desist from its oppression and violence and to respect the fundamental human and civil rights of Ahwazi Arabs, including the right to Arabic Education, employment, assembly, association and expression. Please use all possible means to urge Iran to respect the right to freedom of speech, assembly, and association as set forth by international rights standards. Please use your authority to force Iran to stop its government-sanctioned policy of racial segregation, oppression and brutality immediately. It is humanitarian imperative to place additional pressure campaign on Iran to set free all prisoners of conscience and protesters detained during these demonstrations. Silence is complicity.
On 5/24/2015, Iranian security forces along with agents of the Iranian Intelligence services arrested Kalthoum Dabat, an Ahwazi Arab woman who is a law student at Tehran University. Ahwazi Human rights groups stated that both of Kalthoum brothers, Ahmad Dabat and a younger brother called Mohammad Dabat were previously arrested on 14/01/2012 and on 29/03/2015. There is no doubt that the crackdown on the Dabat Family was a result of their involvement in human rights activity in Ahwaz. According to Ahwazi Human rights groups, due to her cultural, civil and legal activism, Kalthoum Dabat was subjected to severe physical and psychological torture while kept in solitary confinement. Ahwazi women suffer and endure the most vicious types of harassment, arrest, imprisonment, physical and psychological torture from Iranian authorities. They are particularly targeted because of three major reasons – their gender, their Arab ethnicity and because they are Ahwazi freedom fighting women.