Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, October 15, 2007

Urgent appeal made to U.N. official regarding execution of Arab-Iranians

The Ahwazi Human Rights Organization (AHRO) has made an appeal to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour regarding six Ahwazi-Arabs facing execution in Iran. The organization is asking Arbour to call upon the Iranian authorities to stop the executions, as well as to urge the country to ensure due legal process in accordance with internationally recognized standards and to uphold its obligations with regard to civil and political rights

According to AHRO, the six men face charges of hoisting the Ahwazi flag, naming their children Sunni names, converting from Shi'ism to Sunnism, preaching Wahabbism and being “Mohareb” or enemies of god, which carries the death sentence. Other charges include “destabilizing the country,” “attempting to overthrow the government,” “possession of improvised explosives,” “sabotage of oil installations” and being a “threat to national security.”

Last year, Emadeldin Baghi, a leading human rights activist in Iran, called the trials of Ahwazi Arabs flawed, with baseless charges, sentencing that was based on spurious interpretation of the law, and a lack of substantial evidence.

A statement made in January by a team of independent experts appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council urged the Iranian government to “stop the imminent execution of seven men belonging to the Ahwazi Arab minority and grant them a fair and public hearing.” Nevertheless, seven Ahwazi-Arab men were killed between January and February, bringing the number of Ahwazi-Arab political and human rights activists executed in the past 9 months up to at least 13.

Ahwazis face many troubles in Iran, including repression, racial discrimination, land confiscation, forced displacement, and forced assimilation. Moreover, the Ahwazi community suffers from extreme levels of poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy, despite the fact that Khuzestan Province, their traditional homeland, produces 90 percent of Iran’s oil.

The upcoming executions are part of an ongoing crackdown on Ahwazi protestors against ethnic discrimination and persecution, AHRO says.

To access the full letter on AHRO’s site, click here.

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