Men were sentenced to death at ‘unfair trial’ on charges of killing a law enforcement official
Amnesty International has warned against the imminent execution of five members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority convicted of « enmity against God ».
Abd al-Rahman Heidari, Taha Heidari, Jamshid Heidari along with Mansour Heidari and Amir Muawi were sentenced to death in April 2011 on charge of killing a law enforcement official. Three of the men are brothers.
Amnesty says the men, who come from Iran’s southern province of Khuzestan, were all tried « unfairly » and moved to an unknown location at the weekend, prompting fears that they may face imminent execution.
« Iran must urgently halt any plans to execute these five Ahwazi men. The death sentences of all who languish on death row in Iranian prisons should be overturned or commuted, » said Ann Harrison, the deputy director of Amensty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme.
« Their families must be informed immediately of their whereabouts and fate, and they should be allowed access to lawyers of their choice. While held, they must be protected from all forms of torture or other ill-treatment and granted all necessary medical care. »
In March, reports emerged that the death penalty for the five men had been upheld, according to Amnesty.
« Their families have said the men ‘confessed’ to murder, but did so under torture or other ill-treatment. Iranian courts frequently accept ‘confessions’ extracted under duress as evidence, » Amnesty said.
Ahwazi Arabs in Iran often face state discrimination in spheres including education, employment politics and culture. In recent years, many members of the community have taken to the streets to protest at the discrimination against them. Groups advocating a separate Arab state have also been demonstrating, but not all protesters have been separatists.
Amnesty says it has received the names of 27 people who were « allegedly killed in clashes with the security forces » in a protest in April 2011, held to mark the anniversary of unrest in 2005.
Harrison said: « Ahwazi Arabs – like everyone else in Iran – have the right to peacefully express their opposition to government policies. Iran’s authorities must review legislation which discriminates against Ahwazi Arabs and other ethnic and religious minorities. Otherwise, the cycle of grievance, protest and unrest will only continue. »
« The authorities must launch independent, impartial investigations into the ongoing reports of torture and other ill-treatment in Iranian prisons and detention centres – whether of Ahwazi Arabs or others – and bring to justice anyone found responsible for abuses. »
Middle East and North Africa
Saeed Kamali Dehghan