كانون2/يناير 25, 2022

Amnesty International:Iran: End human rights violations against Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority



16 January 2014

AI Index: MDE 13/005/2014

Iran: End human rights violations against Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority

President Rouhani’s first official visit to Khuzestan province must signal a clear policy shift inIran’s treatment of ethnic and religious minorities rather than be a mere measure of appeasementwhile human rights violations against the Ahwazi Arabs and other minorities in Iran continueunabated, warned Amnesty International.

The organization welcomes President Rouhani’s speech in Khuzestan on 15 January 2014 inwhich he stated that discrimination against ethnic communities must not be tolerated. Theorganization,however, remains gravely concerned that despite constitutional guarantees ofequality, members of religious and ethnic minorities, including Arabs, are subject to discriminatorylaws and practices such as undue restrictions on social, cultural, linguistic and religious rights. Forinstance, minority communities often have restricted access to economic, social and culturalrights such as housing, water and sanitation, and face measures such as land and propertyconfiscation and denial of state and para-statal employment under discriminatory selectioncriteria.

Amnesty International has documented numerous cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, tortureand other ill-treatment, grossly unfair trials of political prisoners, and use of the death penaltywhich disproportionally affects minorities, as well as restrictions on movement experienced bymembers of the Ahwazi Arab minority.

Iranian authorities have become increasingly suspicious of Ahwazi Arabs following the unrest thatbroke out in 2005 in the province of Khuzestan in protest at an alleged plan by the government to

disperse the Arab population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. In 2011, theauthorities arrested and detained scores, if not hundreds, of Ahwazi Arabs in relation to thedemonstrationsorganized to mark the sixth anniversary of the 2005 protests. Many of thosearrested were allegedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated and subsequently sentenced in unfairtrials.

Of particular concern to Amnesty International are the cases of death row prisoners, Hadi Rashedi,Hashem Sha’bani Amouri, Mohammad Ali Amouri, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and his brother SayedMokhtar Alboshoka, all members of the Ahwazi Arab minority. All five men were arrested at their

homes in early 2011, ahead of the sixth anniversary of the 2005 protests, apparently inconnection with their cultural activities, such as organizing events in the Arabic language,conferences, educational courses, art classes, and poetry recital gatherings. They were sentencedto death on 7 July 2012 by a Revolutionary Court, after being convicted of charges including

“enmity against God”, “corruption on earth”, "gathering and colluding against state security” and

“spreading propaganda against the system”. Prior to their trial, Hadi Rashedi and HashemSha’bani Amouri were shown “confessing” on a state television channel, in violation ofinternational standards for fair trial. Their death sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court inJanuary 2013.

On 7 December 2013, Hadi Rashedi and Hashem Sha’bani Amouri were transferred to anunknown location from Karoun Prison in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province. Amnesty Internationalunderstands that the family members of both men have been receiving conflicting information ontheir whereabouts and who is holding them from officials at the Ministry of Intelligence, theRevolutionary Court of Ahvaz and Karoun Prison.

Fears have grown regarding the fate of both men given reports of secret executions of othermembers of the Ahwazi Arab community. In November or December 2013, Ghazi Abbasi, Abdul-Reza Amir-Khanafereh, Abdul-Amir Mojaddami and Jasim Moghaddam Payam were executedfollowing their transfer from Karoun Prison to an unknown location on 3 November. The families ofthe men were reportedly not told the exact date of the executions, either in advance or after theyhad taken place, and have not received the bodies of their relatives. Another four Ahwazi Arabmen, Abd al-Rahman Heidarian, Taha Heidarian, Jamshid Heidarian, and Ali Sharifi were alsoexecuted in secret in June 2012 after being transferred to an unknown location. The families ofthe men have yet to be notified of their burial place.

The authorities’ failure to inform the families of prisoners of their fate and whereabouts and theirrefusal to hand over the bodies of those executed, or inform them were the body is buried andallow them reasonable access to that location, is in breach of their international obligations.

According to the UN Human Rights Committee “persisting uncertainty of the circumstances thatled to [an] execution, as well as the location of [the] grave…the complete secrecy surrounding thedate of the execution and the place of burial, as well as the refusal to hand over the body forburial… have the effect of intimidating or punishing the family by intentionally leaving it in a stateof uncertainty and mental distress.“1 The Committee viewed such treatment as inhuman treatmentof the family members in violation of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights.

As immediate measures, Amnesty International is urging Iran’s authorities to reveal thewhereabouts of Hadi Rashedi and Hashem Sha’bani Amouri, not execute any of the fivemen and order retrials for all of the men, in proceedings in line with international fair trialstandards and without recourse to the death penalty. The Iranian authorities must also takeprompt action to address the deeply rooted discrimination against ethnic and religiousى minorities by amending all laws that discriminate on any grounds and eradicating alldiscriminatory measures.


Much of the Arab community in Iran, which is believed to constitute between 3 and 8 per cent ofthe total population, lives in the oil-producing Khuzestan province in southern Iran (known asAhwaz by the Arab community) which adjoins Iraq. Ahwazi Arabs often state that they aremarginalized and discriminated against in access to education, employment, adequate housing,

political participation and cultural rights. Some Ahwazi Arabs – who are mostly Shi’a Muslims likethe majority of people in Iran – have formed groups calling for a separate Arab state in the area.

Under international law, Iran must uphold the rights of ethnic, religious or linguistic minoritiesliving within its jurisdiction and provide for the members of such minorities to enjoy their ownculture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language. In September2010, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, urged Iran to “take thenecessary steps to achieve effective protection from discrimination against, inter alia, Arab, Azeri,Balochi and Kurdish communities and some communities of non–citizens … in various domains,

in particular, employment, housing, health, education and freedom of expression and religion”2.

1 Case No. 2120/2011, Vladislav Kovalev et al. v. Belarus, views adopted on 29 October 2012, UN document

CCPR/C/106/D/2120/2011, para. 11.10.


Public Document


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7413 5566 or email: عنوان البريد الإلكتروني هذا محمي من روبوتات السبام. يجب عليك تفعيل الجافاسكربت لرؤيته.

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK





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