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Torturing Ahwazi Arab female political prisoners in Iranian prisons in order to extract forced confessions from them is yet to stop, local sources informed the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO).

 

The imprisoned Ahwazi women were arrested arbitrarily and without any legal authorisation following an armed attack on an Iranian military parade in Ahwaz in September 2018.

 

Iran used the attack as an excuse to cleanse the Arab region of Ahwaz from peaceful political and cultural activists by arresting them. 

 

Although Iranian authorities said at the time that they had arrested 22 people in connection with the attack, they did not stop there, and they continued making arrests a month after the attack in order to instil fear and suppress the peaceful Ahwazi movement. 

 

Labour activist and newly-released political prisoner Sepideh Gholian revealed recently that hundreds of Arab women have been put in Ahwaz’s prisons purely for being women first, and for being Arab second. 

 

“Zahra is one of hundreds of Arab women who is enduring oppression and torture in prison in Ahwaz for two reasons: one that she is a woman, and two that she is Arab,” Gholian tweeted. 

 

Gholian named several Ahwazi women she had met in prison, such as: 28-year-old and mother of a three-year-old Maryam Hamadi; 20-year-old Kholoud Sobhani; 48-year-old Masoumeh Saeedawi; 45-year-old Susan Saeedawi; 34-year-old and mother of a one-year-old Sakina Sgour; 37-year-old and mother of three children Zahra Shajarat; 19-year-old and mother of a seven-month-old Elaheh Darwishi; 24-year-old and mother of two children Zahra Hosseini; mother of three children Makkiya Neisi.

 

Gholian revealed in another tweet that Maryam Hamadi’s mother, Fatemeh Tounitzadeh, has also been held under temporary detention since September 2018. 

 

In another tweet, Gholian gave details of what the interrogators who tortured Ahwazi women in prison wanted from them.

 

“The interrogators wanted her to confess that she is affiliated with ISIS,” Gholian tweeted. 

 

Iranian lawyer, human rights activist, and Executive Director of rights group Justice for Iran Shadi Sadr shared Gholian’s tweets, calling the labour activist “the voice of the voiceless.” 

 

In a statement in October 2018, AHRO reported that more than 600 Ahwazis, including women, were arrested by Iranian authorities. 

 

AHRO added in the same statement that many of the arrestees, including women, were being tortured in secret detention facilities belonging to Iran’s intelligence services in order to extract forced confessions from them. 

Iranian authorities have arrested about 1,000 children between the ages of nine and 17 in the southwestern province of Khuzestan following the November anti-government protests in the country, the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO) sources reported. 

The arrested children have been transferred to a juvenile detention center in the city of Khorramshahr (Muhammara), say AHRO’s sources. 

The majority of these children were arrested for either being outdoors late at night during the protests or participating in peaceful gatherings in protest of the arrest of their parents or other family members. 

More than 2,500 people have been arrested throughout the province of Khuzestan during the protests, according to AHRO’s sources. 

The arrestees are kept in worrying conditions at police stations, military barracks, and security and intelligence centers.  

AHRO’s sources added that the arrestees are tortured for forced confessions, and the poor state of food and hygiene, particularly for those who were wounded due to security forces firing at protesters, have left these detention centers in dire straits. 

A total of 850 arrestees have been transferred to the Ahwaz Central Prison in Khuzestan’s city of Sheyban and are suffering from poor conditions due to lack of space and health facilities.

A further 300 of the arrestees from Khuzestan’s city of Abadan are held in dire straits in the courtyard of the city’s prison due to insufficient place. 

These arrestees were recently transferred to this prison and had previously been held at schools, police stations, intelligence and IRGC centers. Signs of torture were seen on many of the arrestees’ bodies.

The parents of some of the arrestees who have been able to meet their children say that the arrestees are only given one meal a day. As a result, some families have had to bribe prison guards to give their children some food they bring in when meeting their children. 

Security forces have also arrested between 600 and 700 people in city of Mahshahr (Ma’shour) and transferred them to a warehouse in the city. The arrestees are reportedly held in dire conditions due to lack of food and health facilities in the warehouse. 

Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO)

15 December 2019