A new report from Amnesty International confirms that Iran’s regime sentenced six Ahwazi men to death on 14 February as it escalates its murderous persecution of Ahwazi Arabs, Balochis, Kurds and other ethnic minority groups in an effort to quash protests that have continued since last September.
Following a short group trial at a ‘Revolutionary Court’ in the regional capital, Ahwaz city, at which the six men, identified as Ali Mojadam, Moein Khanfari, Mohammad Reza Mojadam, Seyed Salem Mousavi, Seyed Adnan Mousavi, and Habib Deris, were not allowed to appoint lawyers or to present their own cases, they were told that they had been sentenced to death on the charge of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) for alleged “membership in illegal groups”, in a case dating back to 2017. Ahwazi Arab human rights activists told Amnesty that the men’s ‘confessions’, extracted under torture, were used to convict them.
While the regime has been retaliating brutally against all citizens participating in the recent anti-regime protests, the country’s ethnic minorities have been particularly hard-hit, with the regime especially blaming the minorities for the latest wave of protests across the country.
“The Iranian authorities are carrying out executions on a frightening scale. Their actions amount to an assault on the right to life and a shameless attempt not only to further oppress ethnic minorities but to spread fear that dissent will be met with brute force, either in the streets or in the gallows,” said Roya Boroumand, Executive Director of Abdorrahman Boroumand Centre, an Iranian human rights organisation.
In late February, Iranian officials also executed another Ahwazi Arab man and a Kurdish man in secret following more blatantly unfair trials. In addition, the authorities have also sentenced at least another six Ahwazi Arabs and six Baluchis to death in recent weeks, with some of these detainees convicted in relation to the protests that have engulfed Iran since September 2022.
— Dialogue Institute for Research and Studies (@DialogueInstit1) February 20, 2023
On 20 February, Hassan Abyat, an Ahwazi Arab man, was executed in the infamous Sepidar prison in Ahwaz. Meanwhile, Arash (Sarkawt) Ahmadi, a Kurdish man, was executed on 22 February in Dizel Abad prison in Kermanshah province. Credible sources told Amnesty International that, following the two men’s arrests, interrogators subjected both to torture and other ill-treatment, forcing them to “confess”. These grotesque coerced “confessions” were broadcast on state media in violation of the right to presumption of innocence and in a very typical attempt by the Iranian regime authorities to defame the two men and justify their executions. Adding insult to injury, the men were also denied access to legal representation and were executed in secret, with no final visit allowed and no notice given to their families; this too is standard policy for the regime, which treats its victims’ families with the same cruelty shown to the victims themselves.
The country’s Balochi minority in southeast Iran is subjected to similar suppression by the regime, with Amnesty confirming that at least six young Balochi men were sentenced to death between December 2022 and January 2023 in separate trials over protests that took place in Sistan and Balochistan province in September 2022. The six men – Shoeib Mirbaluchzehi Rigi, Kambiz Khorout, Ebrahim Narouie, Mansour Hout, Nezamoddin Hout, and Mansour Dahmaredeh, who has a physical disability, were sentenced to death on charges of “spreading corruption on earth” (efsad-e fel arz) and/or “enmity against God” (moharebeh) for arson and stone-throwing. International law prohibits the use of the death penalty for offences that do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes” involving intentional killing.