Arbitrary Arrests Are Seeing an Alarming Surge in Ahwaz

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16 Sep 2018

Arbitrary arrests have been deemed illegal under Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating that ‘no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.’ In addition, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a signatory sets out in Article 9 the freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. Therefore, Iran is under international obligation to respect the freedom and security of all peoples living under its jurisdiction including the Ahwazis.

On 21 August 2018, Mr Shaker Hazbawi, son of Salem, who resides in Majd (Aria) district in Kot Abdallah, was arrested by the Intelligence personnel. Mr Hazbawi had been arrested for a number of times previously. Currently, there is no sufficient information on the reason for this arrest.

On 25 August 2018, the security forces arrested 6 young Ahwazi men who protested in front of the Governor department and oil companies in Howayzeh city over the apparent discrimination being enforced by the Iranian oil corporations. The local Arabs bearing the brunt of high unemployment rate, although their land was confiscated by the authorities against their will for extracting oil and drilling wells. Arab youths who graduated from universities were denied equal opportunities to access to job in oil sites located in their homeland. In addition, the region lacks adequate health and welfare services for the population. The Six men from Zahiriya village in Howeyzeh city are as follows: 1. Majid Zaheiri, 2. Abbas Zaheiri, 3. Hakim Zaheiri, 4. Abbas Zaheiri, 5. Rahim Zaheiri, and 6. Hassan Zaheiri. Afterwards, they were taken to Sepidar Prison in Ahwaz.

Following the arbitrary arrest policy of the Iranian regime, on the morning of 27 August 2018, the undercover forces raided several spots in Hamidiya city, arresting dozens of local Arabs including Hassan Beyt Saeed a 26-years old and Ali Mazraa a 27-years old, son of Yousef. Separately, on 30 August 2018, Mr Abbas Torfi, son of Karim, a cultural activist and a poet, was arrested due to his participation in poetry evening in Mashhad city. According to human rights activists, the arbitrary arrests have become a systematic policy used against Ahwazis for undefined and baseless reasons.

It is worth mentioning that the arrested Ahwazi activists are subject to physical and mental torture in the Intelligence and security detention centres. On 11 September 2018, Mr Yaqoob Naseri was released on bail after spending one week in the Intelligence detention facility. He was subject to gross torture. Ahwazi activists published photos showing the extreme effect of torture on the body of Mr Naseri. This victim has been faced with a number of arbitrary arrests and sentenced to 11 years in jail in exile.

Also, on 12 September 2018, dozens of the Sunnis in Malashiya district in the capital city Ahwaz were arrested by the Intelligence Service for unknown reasons. Some of the detainees are as follows: 1. Lami Shamosi, 21-years old, 2. Eidan Shamoci, 28-years old, 3. Shani Shamoci, 29-years old; 4. Farhan Shamoci, 27-years old son of Abbas, 5. Amir Shamoci, 19-years old son of Abbas, and 6. Jasem Haidari, 21-years old.

The systematic arbitrary arrests perpetrated against Ahwazis are aiming at intimidating and oppressing Arab activists. These arrests run counter to the civil rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in which Iran is party to. The Ahwazi Organization for the Defence of Human Rights calls on international community and the concerned human rights special rapporteurs and experts to investigate the current practices of Iranian authorities that grossly violate various civil rights of Ahwazi civilians.

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