Six Arab political activists in southern Iran’s Ahwaz region have been sentenced to death by an Iranian judge on Sunday.
In addition, Ahwazi activists were also sentenced for the same crimes: Abdul Rahman Asakereh has been sentenced to 20 years in jail, while Ismail Abayat was sentenced to five years.
In the past 18 months, Iranian authorities have executed four Ahwazi activists of the same crime, three of whom are brothers.
The families of the detainees shared with Al Arabiya the stories of their loved ones.
Mohammed Omouri had fled to Iraq, bordering the Ahwaz region, in 2007 when he was escaping Iranian arrest. However, he was eventually arrested in the city of Basra where the Iraqi authorities handed him over to Iran despite him having sought political asylum in Iraq. He was detained in Iran for four years in prison before his death.
Omouri had a degree in agricultural engineering from University of Isfahan. As a student he was an active promoter of Arabic culture and literature at student forums and was editor of an Arabic language newspaper called “Toorath” (heritage in Arabic).
Hashim Shabaani worked as an Arabic school teacher and was a Masters student of political science. He was known among national poets in the region and participated in several poetry recitals.
Hadi Rashdi was a chemical engineer and was an active member of societies, one of which included establishing free Arabic classes in the region.
Jabar al- Bushokeh, Mukhtar’s brother, was a serving military officer when he was arrested. He was also an engaged member of social activities.
Amnesty International had warned about the men’s execution and said their trial was unjust. The organization also told the detainees’ families that the men had been tortured during their detention and that their confessions had been extracted under duress.
Iranian state TV had aired these men’s confessions and accused them of being in touch with foreign militant groups.
Iranian TV often airs prisoners confessions which, after they are released from prison, the men say they were forced into making.
Ahwaz lies in southern bank of the Gulf and is rich in oil and natural gas. The majority of Ahwazis accuse the Iranians of discrimination and stealing the wealth of their and lack of due political representation.
Iranian authorities have long rejected such accusations and blames foreign influence for the conflict.