The commander of IRGC forces in Khuzestan, Hassan Shahvarpour, announced on Thursday September 19 at a press conferance that a number of detainees arrested following the attack on the military parade on September 22, 2018 in Ahwaz will be executed soon, Iranian state media reported.

Local sources have had informed Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO) that fears had been raised about the imminent execution of 30 Ahwazi activists, including coerced confessions obtained under torture. The names of the defendants sentenced to death by Iranian judicial or security authorities have not yet been made public. Following the attack on the military parade in Ahwaz on 22 September 2018, more than 800 Ahwazi activists have been arbitrarily arrested by the security services. The arrests have been inhuman, harsh and without charges in different detention centers in Ahwaz including the central prison in Shaiban district.

Previously, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry released a video of 22 people allegedly arrested in a private house, and the authorities claimed they have found explosives and military communication equipment.

Despite the Intelligence Ministry’s announcement of arresting 22 people and Islamic State "IS" adoption of the attack, the security forces, police and the revolutionary guards launched another wave of arrests in Ahwaz the provincial capital and other Arab cities and arbitrary arrested more than 800 activists and ordinary citizens, including women and men, elders and youth.

Many detainees in telephone calls to their families spoke about the torture, severe beatings and coerced confessions during interrogations. The families expressed serious concern about the fate of their children under these circumstances.

On the other hand, the security services’ actions indicate that the issue of large-scale arrests has nothing to do with an attack adopted by ISIS, as the majority of the population of the Ahwazi Arabs are Shiite and this extremist group (ISIS) has no place among the people. 

The region (Al-Ahwaz) has never witnessed any activity or military operations by ISIS, which makes the whole process a scenario created by the Iranian security services for several reasons, including competition among themselves, fabricating a security atmosphere to suppress the escalating protests in Ahwaz province (Khuzestan) and the arrest and execution of Arab activists under the pretext of “opposing the revolution” and “destabilizing the security, stability and unity of the country.”

The ruling minority in Al-Ahwaz province (with the help of the security services and the Revolutionary Guards) has tried to create a security environment in the region to justify the arbitrary and racist policies of the authority and to confront the general dissatisfaction among the various Ahwazi Arab people, which has recently been on the rise.

Ahwaz Human Rights Organization condemns all the death sentences and calls for a fair and transparent trial for all defendants and detainees in Ahwaz. AHRO also calls on the UN authorities and international human rights organizations to put pressure on the Iranian authorities and the Iranian judiciary so that detainees can see their relatives and be tried according the standards set in international charters.

AHRO strongly condemns the retaliatory measures against the Ahwazi Arab people and peaceful Arab activists and calls on the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Mr. Rahman Javaid, to intervene for an independent investigation into the death sentences and arbitrary and unprecedented arrests of Arab activists and citizens in Iran. 

Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO)

20 September 2019