London, MEFD – On Saturday 21st May 2016, Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO) and Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization organised an international workshop on media and civil society in the Middle East at Cambridge House, London. The workshop was attended by Middle East Forum for Development (MEFD).

The event was moderated by Dr Sanjukta Ghosh, British Ahwazi Friendship Society and attended by Dr Karim Abdian, executive director of AHRO, Mosa Zahed, Executive Director of MEFD, Dr Wafik Mustafa, Chair of the British Arab Network and author of “Egypt, the elusive Arab Spring”, Mark Lattimer, Executive Director of Minority Rights Group International, Dr Nour Abu Assab, Director of the Centre for Transnational Development and Collaboration (CTDC) and Mehmet Aksoy, Editor-In-Chief at kurdishquestion.com. The panellists focused on media-related evidence of freedom of speech and human rights activism in the Middle East at the heart of international policy and advocacy practices. Moreover, special emphasis was placed on discussing the obstacles for journalists and civil society activists to share news and ideas on human rights in general.

“The experience from the Arab spring is that dictators, and big ones, were overthrown, not by Bolshevik-type parties but by young people utilising social media in Egypt, in Tunisia, in Libya and so on” said Dr Abdian.

Mosa Zahed specified that human rights activists in Iran used social media during the 2009 social protests for grassroots mobilisation and crowd reporting due to a regime of censorship. Zahed argued that “Modern day technology enabled human rights activists to expose, through detailed testimonies, torture and sexual harassment of men and women who were arrested during the 2009 protests and detained at the Kahrizak detention centre in Southern Tehran”. He emphasised that “As the Iranian authorities got away with the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in the space of a few months during the summer of 1988 without sparking global outrage or condemnation, Ali Khamenei was in 2009 confronted with a bitter reality, namely that getting away with atrocities would not be as easy in this digital era compared to previous decades”.

Dr Wafik Mustafa elaborated on the developments following the Arab Spring, with a particular focus on Egypt subsequent to the fall of the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mustafa noted the need for caution in relation to the use of social media in human rights activism, as he believes that it is not always easy to verify reports circulated via this medium.

Mark Lattimer discussed the United Nations (U.N.) human rights mechanisms and explained its purposes in aiming to assist human rights activists in their future activities, within the U.N. framework.

Dr Nour Abu Assab argued that the U.N. often fails to address gross human rights violations despite well documented cases of atrocities, like the ones in Syria perpetrated by government forces. “One has to look to who is funding the United Nations in order to understand such phenomena”, Dr Assab added.

Mehmet Aksoy underscored the significance of social media in reporting human rights issues that mainstream media do not or cannot cover due to censorship by repressive states. Aksoy emphasised that his online news outlet which reports about Kurdish affairs and Kurdish movements in the Middle East, has acquired global significance enabling it to effectively convey issues relating to the Kurdish question.

The international workshop was attended by dozens of individuals and delegates, including representatives from Iran’s Azeri, Kurdish and Baloch communities.

source:MEFD
According to reports from Iranian Workers Union, today 17 December 2018 , 28 workers from the Ahwaz Steel National Industrial Group, who have striking for more than one month, been arrested by security forces and transferred to an undisclosed location.
The following is the list of workers currently detained:
1- Meysam Ali Ghanavati
2- Isa Mar’ee
3- Amin Alvani
4- Morteza Akbarian
5- Taregh Khalafi
6- Masoud Afri
7- Jafar Sobhani
8-Mostafa Ebeyat
9-Gharib Houizawi
10- Karim Sayahi
11- Hamed Baseri
12- Hafez Kanaani
13 - Hamed Jodaki
14- Hossein Davoodi
15- Kazem Heydari
16- Yasser Ebrahimian
17- Majid Janandleh
18- Cyrus Ismaili
19- Ali Agh’ba
20- Mohsen Baluti
21- Mohammad Pour Hasan
22- Mohsen Pah’bati
23- Seyyed Habib Tabataba’i
24- Jassem Romezi
25 - Ali Etmami
26- Seyyed Ali Javadpour
27- Javad Gholami
28 - Abdolreza Dasti
 Despite the crackdown and arrests, workers of the Ahwaz Steel National Industrial Group, continued their protests for 37th day in the city centre of Ahwaz and shouted slogans demanding the release of their fellow colleagues, and putting an end to state corruption.
The Ahwazi Human Rights Organization condemns the arrest of labor activists by the security forces. We also condemns the crackdown on labor protests and peaceful strikers who are demanding the immediate release of their detained colleagues, and their unpaid wages.
Ahwaz Human Rights organization
17 December 2018
During the demonstration against diversion of Karoon river, Iranian security forces arrested two activists in Muhammerah , the journalist Rahil Mosavi and environmental activist Roqaya Jafari who have participated in the demonstrations against the transfer of Karoon river . They have been transferred to the department of intelligence in the city and have not been released till now . The demonstrations were held in both Ahwaz and Muhammerah .
According to the reports received by AHRO from inside Ahwaz ,Roqaya Jafari was arrested in her home by intelligence forces after the end of the demonstration last Thursday.
Despite the pressures she faced from the intelligence department and the municipality concerning criticising Rohani’s letter about the water transfer ,she participated in the action which resulted in forming a security file on Ms.Jafari and her arrest for 4 consecutive days by the intelligence services .
Ms.Rahil Mosavi on the other hand is a photographer and journalist and civil activist who was verbally insulted and pushed by the security forces who were present as she took photos of demonstration in Muhammerah .Her left arm was injured as security tried to take her camera and eventually she was pushed into their car by force and driven away .
Demonstrators in Ahwaz and Muhammerah criticised the leaked letter from Rouhani’s administration in which an order is given to transfer Karoon river to cities such as Yazd,Isfahan Kerman and Rafsanjan while the inhabitants of Ahwaz and Muhammerah and many other cities in the southwest region suffer from lack of water for drinking and agriculture .
In the same context ,Iranian intelligence also called on many local civil and environmental activists for interrogation for organising and inviting people to demonstrate ,Mr.Masoud Kanani is one of these environmental activists who has been accused of carrying foreign agendas ,this is done in order to intimidate and silence the public.
Ahwaz human Rights Organisation condemns these arrests and calls for immediate release of the two activists and also condemns oppressing the peaceful civil actions and calls on human rights organisations to pressure Iran to uphold this water transfer project which is death sentence to the ecosystem of southwest region and invites the human rights defenders to speak up against the assaults of Iranian government and its security forces against the civilians.
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Iranian authorities executed Ahwazi activists Abdullah Karmollah Chaab and Qassem Biet Abdullah in Dezful prison on Sunday, 4 August 2019, after extracting forced confessions from them under torture. The two activists had been subject to torture for several months.

The head of the province of Khuzestan’s courts in Ahwaz, Abdul-Hamid Amanat Behbahani, told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) that these activists were involved in a shooting at a religious gathering in Safi Abad town in the city of Dezful in 2015, which left two people dead and three others injured.

Three other defendants were sentenced to long prison terms and deportation to remote areas in Iran, Behbahani added.

 In a letter in May 2019 to Ebrahim Raisi, the Head of the Judiciary in Iran, Amnesty International mentioned that Abdullah Karmollah Chaab and Qassem Biet Abdullah " Sunni Muslims from Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority, are on death row following a grossly unfair trial which relied on ‘confessions’ they say were obtained under torture and other ill-treatment. They have been convicted of ‘enmity against God’ (moharebeh) in connection with an armed attack on a Shi’a religious ceremony in Safiabad, Khuzestan province, on 16 October 2015, which left two people dead. They have denied any involvement in the attack. Their lawyers have said there is no evidence linking them to the attack and have identified inconsistencies between the ‘confessions’ that led to their convictions and the accounts of eyewitnesses present at the scene of the crime. On 19 October 2015, both men were arrested by the ministry of intelligence and held in solitary confinement in an unknown location for six months. They have since been moved to several different detention centres. They have been given extremely limited access to their families through irregular telephone calls and only one visit. On 9 April 2019, they were transferred to a ministry of intelligence detention centre in Hamedan, Hamedan province, where they have been denied access to their families.”

 Both men have said they were subjected to months of torture in detention including by being beaten and given electric shocks. Abdullah Karmollah Chab has said his interrogators hung him upside down for 11 days and subjected him to mock executions, saying they would execute and bury him in an unmarked grave. For three mornings in a row, according to him, they woke him, put a sack over his head and a noose around his neck, and told him that if he “confessed” he would not be executed. He refused, saying he was innocent. On the third day, he said he heard one of the interrogators say: “Just let him go. If he had anything to confess, he would have done so by now.” Both men were denied access to a lawyer until the day of their trial, when they were represented by a state-appointed lawyer. During their trial before the Revolutionary Court in Ahwaz on 22 June 2016, they reportedly removed some of their clothes to show torture marks on their bodies to the court. However, no investigation was ordered. Iran’s Supreme Court later quashed the conviction and sentence due to lack of evidence and flawed investigations and ordered a retrial. On 6 July 2017, they were sentenced to death again.”

Abdullah Karmollah Chaab and Qassem Biet Abdullah were amongst 15 Ahwazi Arabs who were arrested following the armed attack on a religious ceremony in Safiabad on 16 October 2015.

Within weeks of the attack and before their trial had taken place, the authorities made a series of announcements that undermined their presumption of innocence. On 1 November 2015, the public prosecutor of Dezful, Khuzestan province, announced: “After arresting all of the perpetrators on this incident, and [obtaining] their confessions, it is clear that this was a terrorist incident.” He went on to accuse the detainees of belonging to a group that called itself Jandolfareq, which he said had 15 members and aimed to commit sabotage operations and other acts in the province. He said: “Thankfully, they were identified and arrested after their first operation and had their weapons and other devices discovered and seized. According to the law, their crime is certainly that of moharebeh and they have been charged as such.” On 17 November 2015, the Islamic Republic News Agency also reported that the head of the justice department in Dezful told its reporters: “I anticipate that these ‘terrorists’ will be convicted of moharebeh and handed down a punishment that will make them pay for their deplorable actions and serve as a lesson to others.”

 In court, Abdullah Karmollah Chab and Ghassem Abdullah were tried alongside six other Ahwazi Arabs. The prosecution authorities accused them of involvement in an armed group called Jandolfareq, which they described as following a “Salafi Takfiri” ideology but failed to provide any evidence to show how the defendants were connected to the group.

Their lawyers also said that there is no evidence linking them to the attack. There are many contradictions in the file and a conflict in the forced confessions that led to their conviction, especially as they contradict the accounts of eyewitnesses who are in the crime scene. These include inconsistencies between “confessions” the men say they made under torture and the evidence presented to the court. The men are said to have “confessed” that the car they used during the attack was a white Peugeot Persia while eyewitnesses have stated that a silver Peugeot 405, which is an older model, was used by the assailants.
In addition, Ghassem Abdullah, who is a farmer, told his interrogators that he owns a rifle and indicated where they could find it. However, according to statements made by the arms specialist assigned to this case and a report by the security authorities, three shells found at the scene of the crime do not match the bullets found in the cartridge of the rifle that was retrieved from Ghassem Abdullah’s home. Despite these and other inconsistencies, the judge presiding over their trial refused to order an investigation into their torture allegations and accepted their “confessions” as evidence to sentence them to death.

The six other defendants on trial with them were also convicted of “enmity against God” but were spared the death penalty and were instead sentenced to between three and 25 years in prison. The names of those sentenced to imprisonment are as follows:

  • Ahmed Abdullah, 30 years old, from Shoush, sentenced to 25 years in prison.
  • Majed Bait Abdullah, 23 years old, from Khalaf Muslim village, 25 years of life imprisonment.
  • Hassoun Bait Abdullah, 31 years old, from the village of Dergal, 25 years of life imprisonment.
  • Hussein Abdullahi, 24 years old (brother of Abdullah Abdullahi), from Shavour, three years in prison.
  • Issa Abdullahi, 30 years old, and Majid Abdullahi, 24 years old, both sentenced to three years in prison.

 

  • Abdullah Karmollah Chab is a 38-year-old with three children, and Qassem Abdullah is a 32-year-old farmer with two children. Both men, from Shush county in Khuzestan province, are Sunni Muslims who have converted from Shi’a Islam.

Under international human rights standards, individuals charged with crimes punishable by death are entitled to the strictest observance of all fair trial guarantees. The arbitrary deprivation of life, as well as torture and other ill-treatment are absolutely prohibited at all times and in all circumstances.

Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO) strongly condemns the execution of the Ahwazi activists Abdullah Karmollah Chaab and Qassem Biet Abdullah, expressing deep concern about the increasing number of executions in Ahwaz region (Khuzestan) and calling for the abolition of the death penalties against other activists in Ahwaz prisons and the abolition of prison sentences against the other six prisoners, and other arbitrary sentences against Ahwazi Arab activists. Moreover, AHRO demands fair and public trials in the presence of independent lawyers.
Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO)
 5 Aug 2019

According to AHRO’s primary statistics 12 days into the peaceful demonstrations in Ahwaz, 250 Ahwazi Arabs have been detained for participating in peaceful demonstrations.
Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation strongly condemns the crackdown of demonstrations and the arrests of hundreds of Arab citizens in Iran and expresses their deepest concerns for the safety and well-being of the detainees.
Previous experiences have confirmed that the Security service and Intelligence treat detainees with outmost brutality in addition to inflicting physical and mental torture, severely abusing their human rights.
Unfortunately, the Iranian government has chosen once again to take the path of violence and suppression in order to confront the masses and during the past 2 weeks, Ahwaz has turned to a military barracks and collective and arbitrary arrests have been taking place, constantly ,for days.    

The following video has been sent to AHRO by a citizen journalist and shows a young Arab male in Kut-Abdallah being violently forced into a police car by dozens of policemen and government agents disguised in civilian clothing.

The following is the list of detainees among which are women and minors:

1-Adanan Khasraji

2-Saeed Nawaseri

3-Mohammed Hezbian

4-Mohammad Jalil Kanoon

5-Asad Nawaseri

6-Mansoor Tamimi (Sayyahi area)

7- Khalid Mahawy (Akhar- Asphalt area)

8-Mahmood Beit Sayyah (Akhar- Asphalt area))

9-Khadija Neissi (Shuaybieh area)

10-Aysha Neissi (19 years old -Shuaybieh area)

11-Wisam Sawari (19 years old- Sepidar area)

12- Ali Khasraji (23 years old - arrested in Ahwaz along with 4 of his friends on March 30th )

13- Shahab Na’ami ( Khaledieh area “Kianpars”)

14- Hasan Kenani ( Khaledieh area “Kianpars”)

Detainees of 31st March 2018  in Ma’ashur “Mahshahr”

15-Foad Hardani

16-Fazel Albosubeih

17-Hussein Albosubeih

18-Ibrahim Al-buali

19-fazel Awadi

20- Mohammad Alboghobeish

21-Sattar Albosubeih

22-piruz Albosubeih

23-Hamid Alboghobeish (Zubeidi)

24- Reza Alboghobeish

25- Mehdi Alboghobeish

Detainees of 1st April 2018 in Kut-Abdallah-Ahwaz

26-Sajjad Jamei’i (25 years old)

27- Mohammad Fatlawi (27 years old)

Detainees of Abadan in Selech area:

28-Salah Baghlani

29- Ali Baghlani

Detainees of April 1st 2018 - Thawra area of Ahwaz

30- Adnan Bayanan Sakini (37 yeas old)

31- Jom’a Sawari (32 yeas old)

32- Suri Saalebi (Sawari)- (47 years old)

33-Kazem Turfi (40 years old)

34- Nader Alboghubeish arrested in Taleghani area of Ahwaz on April 6th 2018

Detainees of march 31st 2018 in Hamidieh

35-Ali Abidawi bin Taleb

36- Ali Abidawi bin Warwar

Detainees in Ahwaz city

37- Sajjad Sawari bin Ziab (32 years old, married from Thawra area arrested on April 5th )

38- Sadeq Sawari (from Thawra area arrested on April 2end 2018)

39- Basem Sawari (from Thawra area arrested on April 2end 2018)

40- Abdul-al Doraqi ( from Cantex area- 50 year old poet , arrested on April 5th 2018 ,severely tortured )

41-Majed Zuheiri Bin Karim ( Thawra area)

42-Saeed Sawari ( Arrested on April 3rd 2018 )

43-Khaledieh Turfi Bint Hamid Al-Asi ( from Camp - Polonia “camppolo” area arrested on April 4th 2018)

44- Ali Ebeyyat Bin Semij

45-Mustafa Sawari ( from Thawra area arrested on April 5th 2018)

46- Naeem Hamidi ( Journalist)

Demonstrations started as protest against Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) following a program in which Arab’s existence in Iran and their identity was ignored, once again. Demonstrators demanded an apology and until now neither IRIB nor channel 2 producers issued an apology. 

Demonstrations over the insulting TV show has turned to full scale manifestations on a daily basis against all forms of racism and marginalisation against ethnic Arabs of Iran. Protesters expressed their disapproval of Tehran’s plans of demographic change that has been in work for years through influx of immigrants from other areas and excluding indigenous Arab population from the job market in Iran’s richest areas.

The following are among the demands of Ahwazi Arabs: an end to unemployment and exclusion from social, political and economic life, end to transfer of Karun river, stop the destruction of environment and change the security approach of Tehran toward Ahwaz which has turned this region to a military barracks and the release of all political and cultural activists who are currently in detention.

Demonstrators also demand the right to establish independent newspapers and news agencies in Arabic, improvement of living conditions in this region and to allocate part of the oil’s revenue to the reconstruction and development of the region and the fight against poverty and marginalisation.

The Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation affirms the right of  Ahwazi Arabs to continue their peaceful demonstration and calls for  an end to the repression of these legitimate protests, as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees.




Ahwaz Human Rights Organization

7 April 2018