Human Rights Watch called on Iran to investigate the death of two Ahwazi detainees in Intelligence Ministry detention facilities in the past week. On 7 January 2012 HRW said that Iran has arrested more than 65 Arab activist s since late 2011. It also urged Iran to immediate charge or release the arrestees.
|killed : Nasser Alboshokeh|
"Reports by local activists about security sweeps in the towns of Hamidiyeh, Shush, and Ahwaz [city] 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 [city] respectively, apparently as a result of torture. The local activists say that most of those arrested are being held in incommunicado detention." Human rights Watch said.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch said that " “There has been a blackout inside Iran on this latest round of arrests targeting Arab protesters and activists. 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."
Ahwazi rights groups told HRW that security forces have since November 2011 arrested at least 18 Arab men in Hamidiyeh, 25 kilometers west of Ahwaz city ." The first arrest, on November 28, was of the prominent activist Hasan Manabi, an elementary school principal, and his brother Ghaleb. A close friend of Hasan Manabi told Human Rights Watch that security and intelligence forces had arrested him numerous times since 2005. He said that Manabi, who had told the friend about torture and ill-treatment at the hands of intelligence officials following earlier arrests, had decided in late 2010 to seek asylum in Turkey." HRW said.
A local Ahwazi activist told Human Rights Watch "that the latest round of arrests in Hamidiyeh began when security forces arrested nine Iranian Arabs on January 10 and four more on January 26 and 30. Most are between ages 20 and 28, and some had previously been detained for participating in demonstrations demanding more rights for Iran’s ethnic Arab minority. At least one has been released on bail, the local activist said, and several others have since been arrested."
Authorities plainclothes members of the Intelligence have also arrested at least 27 people in Shush, 115 kilometers northwest of Ahwaz city, in recent weeks " 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. The activist said that security forces set up checkpoints throughout Shush. After they arrested Jasim Kaabi, his daughter Khadijeh, and his son Mohammad in their home on January 21, he said “people became angry and poured into the streets.” In response, security forces arrested at least 24 men, most of them in their 20s, on January 25 and 26. The arrests took place in Ahmadabad, Khazireh, Dawwar, and several villages outside of Shush [Sus]. HRW report adds.
“For about four days [from January 25] Shush was effectively under martial law, which has since been lifted,” the activist said. “But the city is still under a heavy security presence.”
The local activist told Human Rights Watch that Mohammad Kaabi, who was arrested in Shush on January 21, died in custody at a local Intelligence Ministry detention facility. The local activist confirmed reports from other activists that on February 2 authorities from the Shush Intelligence Ministry office contacted Kaabi’s family and informed them that he had died. The official reportedly told the family that authorities had already buried Kaabi’s remains and there was no need for funeral services. They warned the family not to conduct a public mourning service for their son.
Prior to news of Kaabi’s death, local activists told Human Rights Watch that 19-year-old Nasser Alboshokeh Derafshan had allegedly died after being tortured on January 30 in an Intelligence Ministry detention facility in Ahwaz city. A source close to Derafshan’s family told Human Rights Watch that security forces arrested Derafshan on January 26 for unknown reasons.
Human Rights Watch reports says that " intelligence agents have arrested at least 11 Arab men in and around Ahwaz city since February 3. Security forces arrested another 10 Arab men, all of whom are members of the Sunni sect, on January 17, activists said. One of them told Human Rights Watch that security forces, many of them plainclothes agents, are present throughout Ahwaz and the situation there is very tense."
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch said “Security operations in Khuzestan [Arabistan] province since protests there last April have resulted in the largest number of deaths and injuries since the crackdown that followed the disputed 2009 presidential election . With the province under an information blackout and the history of secret convictions and executions, we have reason to be very worried about the people the authorities have been snatching up and carrying off there.”
Names of arrested Ahwazis provided by local activists Since November 2011 are as follows HRW website says
Shush: Qasem Badavi, Jaajaa Chenani, Aadel Dabbat, Ahmad Dabbat, Ashur Dabbat, Faisal Dabbat, Kazem Dabbat, Ebrahim Heidari, Hamid Kaabi, Jaafar Kaabi, Jasem Kaabi, Karim Kaabi, Khadijeh Kaabi (female), Mohammad Kaabi (died in detention), Sajjad Kaabi, Ali Kenani, Abbas Khasraji, Mehdi Khasraji, Moslem Mazraavi, Morteza Mousavi, Hasan Navaseri, Mehdi Navaseri, Salar Obeidavi, Amir Sorkhi, Adnan Zoqeibi, Ahmad Zoqeibi, Osman Zoqeibi
Hamidiyeh: Hasan Abiat, Jalil Abiat, Jamal Abiat, Aadel Cheldavi, Adnan Cheldavi, Karim Doheimi, Ali Heidari, Mohammad Adnan Helfi, Ghabel Manabi (arrested November 2011), Hadi Manabi, Hasan Manabi (arrested November 2011), Seyed Faraj Mousavi (released on bail), Heidar Obeidavi, Khaled Obeidavi, Ayoub Saedi, Emad Saedi, Abbas Samer, Eidan Shakhi
Ahwaz city (and vicinity): Ahmad Afravi (Sunni), Nasser Alboshokeh Derafshan (died in detention), Majid Bavi (Sunni), Abdolvahid Beit Sayyah (Sunni), Valid Hamadi, Qazi Handali Farhani (Sunni), Jamal Hazbavi (Sunni), Tofiq Heidari, Hamid Khanfari Batrani (Sunni), Hossein Khazraji (Sunni), Said Khazraji (Sunni), Jasem Marvani, Taher Moaviyeh, Mohammad Naami, Seyed Ahmad Nazari (Sunni), Aadel Saedi, Hossein Savari, Ali Sayyahi, Ali Sharifi, Sadoun Silavi, Khalaf Zobeidi (Sunni).