Saturday, 25 February 2012

Four New Arrests In Arabistan Amid Complicit Silence From Persian Human Rights Organisations

Three more Ahwazi activists have been arrested in the latest wave of crackdowns on anti-government protests in the town of Hamidiya 25 km west of Ahwaz city. Sources told EAHRO they include Adnan Atshani, Jalil Naami and 34 year-old Ali Sawari, the son of the former head of Hamidiya council Ghanim Sawari. 

Since late 2011 the towns of Hamidiya, Susa (Sush) and Ahwaz have witnessed massive and barbaric crackdowns against Ahwazi in response to anti-government slogans, painting graffiti and expressing solidarity with the Arab Spring. 

On 7 February 2012 Human Rights Watch reported that " security sweeps in the towns of Hamidiyeh, Shush, and Ahwaz indicate that authorities carried out at least some of the arrests in response to anti-government slogans and graffiti spray-painted on public property expressing sympathy for the Arab Spring and calling for a boycott of Iran’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for March 2, 2012. 

Human Rights Watch received information that Mohammad Kaabi, 34, and Nasser Alboshokeh Derafshan, 19, died in detention facilities run by local intelligence officials in Shush and Ahwaz respectively, apparently as a result of torture. The local activists say that most of those arrested are being held in incommunicado detention.

“There has been a blackout inside Iran on this latest round of arrests targeting Arab protesters and activists,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities should immediately divulge the reasons for the arrests, give detainees access to family members and lawyers, bring all detainees promptly before a judge, and hold anyone responsible for torture to account.”

Human Rights Watch expressed concern for those in custody. Based on past government actions some of those arrested could be at imminent risk of execution if they are convicted by revolutionary courts of national security crimes including terrorism or espionage, or face prosecution on such charges. Human Rights Watch is not aware of any charges that have been brought in these cases."

On10 February 2012 Amnesty International said " around 49 members of the Ahwazi Arab minority have been arrested since 10 January 2012, in at least three cities [of Susa, Hamidiya and Ahwaz ].  

A family member of Nasser Derafshan Alboshokeh, aged 19, told Amnesty International how his relative and Mohammad al-Ka’bi, aged 34, both members of the Ahwazi Arab minority, died in Ministry of Intelligence detention facilities in Ahvaz and Shush.  Both men – arrested on 26 January and 21 January respectively – were reported to have been tortured before they died.  

The family of Nasser Derafshan Alboshokeh has not yet been permitted to bury him.  They have reportedly been told by the local Iranian authorities to keep the memorial service private as a 1condition of the funeral taking place. Nasser Derafshan Alboshokeh’s family learnt of his death on 30 January 2012.  He is said not to have had access to legal representation nor been permitted any contact with his family during his four day detention."

Arab Human Rights also called on the UN Human Rights Council to take action and help Ahwazis.

In contrast, despite EHARO and other Ahwazi rights groups appeals, Iranian and Persian rights groups, including Shirin Ebadi Nobel Peace Prize Laureateand International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran have shown no sympathy for victims in Arabistan, renamed to Khuzestan by Iran in 1936 as part of Persianization policies aimd at wiping out the indigenous Ahwazis' Arabic identity and culture.

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