24 Jan 2019
Ahwazi rights groups have reported that Iranian authorities have transferred two Ahwazi activists previously sentenced to death to the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran, with activists warning that this means their execution is imminent.
The two Ahwazi men, 36-year-old Abdullah Abdullahi [Karamullah Ka’ab], a married father of three from the Shawur district of Susa [ known as Shush in Farsi], and 31-year-old Qassim Beit Abdullah (Kaabi) from the village of Kaab Beit Allawi, were sentenced to death in October 2017 on charges of ‘enmity to God’ and ‘corruption on Earth’ over their alleged membership of a non-existent opposition group. Activists report that there is no evidence against them and that the group they are accused of belonging to does not, in fact, exist! Because of this, the Supreme Judiciary in Tehran overturned the original death sentence; however, the prosecutor appealed the verdict to Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court using ‘confessions as evidence’ that had been extracted by force from the prisoners under torture by regime intelligence personnel. As a result, the Revolutionary Court again sentenced them to death on 31 August 2018. Since then they have been imprisoned in an exile prison located in Isfahan province, a province distant around 517 km from their homes in Ahwaz region, is yet another way of punishing them by preventing them from seeing their families. This is a common tactic of the Iran regime, used to further demoralise dissidents.
The men’s families have called on international human rights organisations and activists to raise awareness of the two detainees’ plight and to put pressure on the Iran regime to urgently have these unwarranted death sentences overturned. The men’s parents have also pleaded for help from the international community, saying, “Our sons are innocent, and the allegations against them by the Iranian judicial and security authorities are false.”
The two men are amongst eight Ahwazi activists, all from the town of Susa and the surrounding area who were arrested in a series of raids by Iranian regime security personnel on their family homes on September and October 16, 2015. The eight men were accused of under the pretext of being members of an anti-regime group named ‘Jund al-Farouq’ or the ‘Soldiers of Farouq’, which nobody has heard of because it doesn’t exist.
Ahwazi human rights activists believe these arrests, which are part of a wide-ranging campaign targeting Ahwazi activists, represent an acceleration of Tehran’s efforts to persecute, torture and murder Ahwazi activists, as well as the regime using them as scapegoats to divert domestic anger about the failing economy and to bolster its narrative both home and abroad, in which it claims it is protecting Iran from the risk of plots against it by Ahwazis and other ethnic groups. Its hope is to fabricate imaginary ‘opposition groups’ to justify its increasing brutality towards Ahwazis and thus claim they are posing a risk to ‘national security.
The other six detainees arrested at the same time as Abdullah Abdullahi and Qassim Beit Abdullah, include Abdullah Abdullahi’s brother and other family members, who have all received lengthy prison sentences ranging from three years to 25 years-to-life were transferred to the notorious Masjid Suleiman Prison following an intensive interrogation. They are:
Hussein Abdullahi, aged 25, Abdullah Abdullahi’s brother, sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Majid Abdullahi and Issa Abdullahi, aged 25 and 31 respectively, each sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Ahmed Abdullahi, aged 30, a poet from Sousa, sentenced to 25 years- imprisonment.
Majed Bait Abdullah, 23, from Khalaf Moslem village, sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
Hassoun [Hassan] Bait Abdullah [Karamullah Ka’ab ], Abdullah Abdullahi’s brother, aged 31, from the village of Derjal, sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
All of these men have reportedly been subjected to torture and forced to sign false confessions admitting to being the founders of the aforementioned non-existent anti-regime group.