Sunday, January 13, 2013

Death Sentence Upheld For Five Ahwazi Iranian Arab Political Prisoners

Iran is not an Arab country, but it does have Ahwazi Arabs living there. As with all minorities in that country, they are persecuted and discriminated against. Persecution and discrimination has lead to activism, and the way the Iranian government deals with dissent is by jailing and executing those they feel are causing trouble. More often than not they are arrested through trumped up charges and/or forced confessions. Ahwazi activists have been executed in the past. Five more were sentenced to death last year, and the sentence was just upheld by the Iranian courts.

In July 2012 Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported that Judge Seyed Mohammad Bagher Mousavi, from branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court, notified lawyers and family members of the five Ahwazi Arab activists about their death sentences.

Recent reports indicate that branch 32 of the Iranian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences.

The name of the Ahwazi Arab activists are: Mohammad Ali Amouri, Hadi Rashedi, Hashem Sha’bani, and two brothers by the names of Seyed Mokhtar Albooshooke and Seyed Jaber Albooshooke.

Mohammad Ali Amouri is a cultural activist and the editor in chief of Altaras, a student publication at the Isfahan University of Technology. Hashem Sha’bani is a teacher at numerous high schools in the city of Khalfieh. Hadi Rashedi and the two brothers (Mokhtar and Jaber) were condemned to death based on the charges of "Acting against national security" and "Moharebeh" (enmity against God).

The five political prisoners have reportedly been forced to make false confessions. Two of the men, Hadi Rashedi and Hashem Shabaninejad were featured on a program on Press TV, the Iranian authorities’ English-language satellite channel, confessing to their alleged subversive acts. Reports indicate that the confessions were extracted under severe physical and mental torture. The court sentenced the five activists to death in July 2012 based on the false confessions.

IHR strongly condemns the death sentences against the Ahwazi Arab activists. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR said: "We urge the international community to condemn the death sentences." He continued: "Several political prisoners are in imminent danger of execution. Strong reactions are needed from the international community to stop these executions."

With a government that loves its executions, I don't hold much hope for these five. The Iranian government couldn't care less what the international community thinks.

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