14 Sep 2021
Coronavirus: a killing tool for Ahwazi Arab political and ethnic prisoners
Since the early days of water crisis protests, that had occurred in various cities of Ahwaz, against systematic discrimination, deliberate dehydration and the destruction of the natural resources of the ancestral lands of Arab people, a wave of violent crackdowns on protesters by security forces had been conducted. Consequently, at least 8 young people were killed, by live ammunition, and more than 1,000 protesters were arrested in various cities.
The Iranian regime has begun its campaign of arrests against the peaceful Ahwazi protesters, immediately after the eruption of the thirst uprising. Accordingly, several Human Rights organizations and groups, through informed local sources and their field observations, have identified about 380 detainees in various cities of Ahwaz. However, at the same time, Hamshahri (online) which is a state media published a report, confirming the arrest of 300 people – alone – in the city of Khafajiyah (Susangard). The report itself testifies to the very high number of arrests of protesters by security forces.
It is noteworthy that among those who have been detained, are families who in search of their children were referred to the security agencies, and were inhumanely arrested by the same agencies. According to Human Rights activists, fear of arrest by security forces, caused many injured protesters to refuse being hospitalized, and thus, to lose their lives due to the severity of their injuries and wound infections.
Therefore, it is impossible to provide an accurate information on the number of injuries and deaths. As based on the latest news, 2 young people from the cities of falahiya and M’ashour, were severely injured, and lost their lives in the recent days. Although, their families denied the deaths of their children from injuries. Because they were worried about the burial of their children’s bodies secretly inside unknown graves, by the regime’s security forces. Consequently, they buried their bodies in silence and attributed their deaths to the Coronavirus.
It is worth mentioning that the transfer of detainees to various prisons in Ahwaz, seriously raises another alarm in such a critical situation. As, the rise of Covid cases in the political geography of Iran, has led to a new wave of Covid outbreak among prisoners.
Over the past few days, official human rights sources have reported that more than 20 detainees in the Sheiban prison of Ahwaz, have been infected with the virus. The sources added that the prison’s authorities deliberately ignore the signs and symptoms of Ahwazi prisoners, and deprive them from taking PCR tests. This has consequently caused a new wave of Covid disease, in addition to its rapid spread among the prisoners.
Therefore, Amnesty International issued a statement, warning about the mentioned tragedy in Ahwaz. Also, based on the human rights activists, neglecting the conditions of prisoners during this deadly pandemic, in addition to keeping all of the prisoners in the same place, is a criminal way to get rid of Arab Ahwazi prisoners. Unfortunately, this inhumane treatment of political and ethnic prisoners is being seriously pursued by the Iranian regime. In spite of granting leave to prisoners in other provinces due to the spread of the Coronavirus, the regime deliberately refuses the release of the Arab prisoners.
Actually, they neglect the conditions of even those who have been in prison for years, or are in a very worrying physical condition such as Mohammed Amouri and Hassan Beit Abdullah. Also, the Human rights activities, condemned the regime’s violence against the Arab women, who have supported the case of Sepideh Ghalian, in addition to the families of Ahwazi ethnic activists who have been under tremendous pressures.
Furthermore, another inhumane method is the Islamic Republic’s judicial system, which attempts to impose very heavy bail- for the release of prisoners held in notorious prisons full of detainees. Unfortunately, With the current economic conditions, providing these funds is the responsibility of the detainees’ families. However, such a heavy bail is virtually impossible for those who have been imprisoned during the crackdown on protests against unemployment and absolute poverty.
Therefore, Human rights organizations and groups, calls on the UN Human Rights Council to dispatch specialized groups, in order to impartially assess the health status of the Ahwazi detainees inside the regime’s most notorious prisons. Also, to prevent the brutal killing of political and ethnic prisoners by the Islamic Republic, through spreading the Coronavirus.