Ahwazi sets himself

An Ahwazi Arab man set himself alight inside the offices of the provincial Governor in Ahwaz on April 16 in a protest against unemployment, according to a report by the Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (Ahro).

Following the example of the Tunisian martyr Mohammad Bouzizi, Madhi Hadi Mojadam (32) waited for the Governor to leave his office and dowsed himself in petrol before setting himself alight. Security guards intervened immediately to put out the fire and take him to the nearby Taleghani hospital.

Mojadam lives in Char-sad-dastgah in Sepidar, one of the most deprived areas of Ahwaz City. He is currently in intensive care suffering severe burns. His family has been threatened by the authorities not to disclose the news and his hospital room is under the control of the security services. The authorities fear that news coverage of his self-immolation could prompt civil unrest ahead of the presidential elections.

Self-immolation is a non-violent method of resistance that has been increasingly used by Tibetans resisting Chinese occupation; over 100 Tibetans have set themselves alight and 40 have died as a result since 2009. Mojadam is the fifteenth reported self-immolation in connection with the Arab Spring uprisings.