Monday, 23 May 2016

Forced Disappearance: Iranian Authorities Abducted an Ahwazi Sunni Activist and Refuse to Reveal His Fate

The plainclothes intelligences services agents in a private car have abducted Mr. Baqer Gholami (AKA Naami) a 36-year-old father-of-two and Ahwazi Sunni activist from his front door at about 5 pm on 6 March 2016 without even allowing him to change out of his pyjamas or take his eyeglasses.
Forcibly Disappeared:
Name: Baqer Gholami (Al Naami)
Age: 36
Status: Married with two children
Location: Unknown since 6 March 2016
Crime: Sunni Muslim

Two hours later, at around 7pm another group of armed men arrived at his home and confiscated his belongings including his computer, two mobile phones, books, pamphlets and IDs. They did not produce search warrant and declined to reveal his whereabouts.

Almost three months on, the revolutionary court and the intelligence services including Setade Khabari have refused to acknowledge his arrest or to reveal his fate.

He had previously been arrested and imprisoned several times for his solely religious activists, including organizing private group prayers, reading the Qoran and Islamic jurisprudence. He served at least 19 months in prison:

Arrested on 17 Feb 2011, and was detained for one month.  He was again arrested on 26 July 2012 along with 19 other activist and was sentenced by Judge Syed Mohammed Mousavi at Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Courts in Ahwaz to thirteen months in prison. He was also arrested 17 December 2013 spent five months in prison.

Authorities in Iran forcibly disappeared and detained incommunicado individuals. Mr. Gholami's family say he is at serious risk of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Enforced disappearances are defined under international law as the arrest or detention of a person by state officials or their agents followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty, or to reveal the person’s fate or whereabouts. Enforced disappearances violate a range of fundamental human rights protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which  Iran is a party, including prohibitions against arbitrary arrest and detention; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; and extrajudicial execution.

Iran has in recent years intensified its crackdown on Sunni Ahwazis by accusing and charging them, inter alia, with spreading propaganda against the system by promoting Wahhabism, questioning the official religion of the country, producing and distributing deviant books...

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