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Free 5 Awazi Arab Activists In Iran, Sentenced To Death After Being Tortured For False "Confessions"
Petition Background (Preamble):
HRANA News Agency – Death Sentences for five Iranian Arab civil and cultural activists in Ahwaz was confirmed by Judges: Farajollahi, Ghaem Maghami and Lotfi at Iran's Branch 32 of Supreme Court.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), branch 32 of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Iran has upheld the death sentences of five Ahwazi Arab men convicted of waging war on God, sowing corruption on earth, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and acting against national security.
The five men are: Hashem Shabaninejad (a poet, blogger, and teacher of Arabic literature), Hadi Rashedi (a chemistry teacher), Mohammad Ali Amourinejad (a blogger), Seyyed Jaber Alboshokeh and his brother Seyyed Mokhtar Alboshokeh.
The families of the prisoners being notified of the Supreme Court verdict on 9 January 2012, wich was issued by Judges Farajollahi, Gha’em-Maghami, and Lotfi.
According to the reports, the five men, who are all from Khalafabad (Ramshir), were arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS) in Spring 2011. The same source indicated that these men were severely tortured. Hashem Shabaninejad is reported to be suffering from psychological disorders as a result of the harsh torture he has endured. Another man, Hadi Rashedi, has suffered a broken pelvis. A different source, who was detained by the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS) in Ahwaz during the same period in connection to the same case, reported that he heard the voice of Hadi Rashedi as he was being tortured.
These five individuals have reportedly been forced to make false confessions. Two of the men, Hadi Rashedi and Hashem Shabaninejad, were featured on a TV show on Press TV, the IRI’s English-language satellite channel, confessing to their alleged subversive acts. Reports indicate that all five men gave these confessions under severe physical and mental torture. Despite serious doubts concerning the validity of these confessions, and despite the reported lack of credible witnesses, the trial court sentenced all five to death in July 2012 after over a year in detention. IHRDC posted a report on these five men after they were convicted.
The human rights organization Justice for Iran has pointed out that the five prisoners are founders or members of the Alhavar institute, a scientific and cultural organization registered under the supervision of the National Youth Organization. Justice for Iran adds that Alhavar, meaning “Dialogue”, was inspired by former president Mohammad Khatami’s policy of promoting dialogue between civilizations, and as an officially registered group it held Arabic poetry nights and art workshops and educational training programs for young people in Ramshir, in Khuzestan Province.
Both international law and the Constitution of the IRI prohibit torture and forced confessions. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran has ratified, states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” In addition, Article 14(3)(g) of the ICCPR expressly states that a prisoner cannot be forced to testify against him or herself or to confess guilt. Article 38 of the Constitution of the IRI prohibits torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information as well, and declares that all information obtained through torture and forced confessions is invalid.
Six members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority are due to go on trial in Iran on 20 May. The men were detained without charge for almost a year and all were arrested in connection with their activities on behalf of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority. It is feared they will not receive a fair trial and may be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.
The six men, all from Khalafabad in Khuzestan province, south-west Iran, were arrested at their homes in February and March 2011 in advance of the sixth anniversary of widespread protests by Ahwazi Arabs in April 2005. Blogger Mohammad Ali Amouri, chemistry teacher Rahman Asakereh and teacher Hashem Sha’bani Amouri were arrested on 16 February. Teacher Hadi Rashidi (or Rashedi) was arrested on 28 February, and Sayed Jaber Alboshoka and his younger brother Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka were arrested in March.
The men are now held in Karoun prison in the city of Ahwaz, Khuzestan province. At least four of them were denied access to a lawyer for at least eight months after arrest. In or around February 2012, they were all charged in separate five-minute court sessions with the vaguely-worded offences of “enmity against God and corruption on earth" (moharebeh va ifsad fil-arz), “gathering and colluding against state security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. The charge of “enmity against God and corruption on earth” carries a possible death sentence. They are due to be tried before Branch 2 of the Dezful Revolutionary Court on 20 May 2012.
Mohammad Ali Amouri, who fled to Iraq in December 2007and was forcibly returned in January 2011, was reportedly tortured and otherwise ill-treated during his first seven months in detention. Hadi Rashidi was hospitalized after his arrest, apparently as a result of torture or other ill-treatment, and is said to be in poor health.
According to their family, Sayed Jaber Alboshoka lost 10 kg and Sayed Mokhtar Alboshoka experienced depression and memory loss as a result of torture or other ill-treatment.
They are prisoners of conscience who have been sentenced to death under charges which are illegal under both international and Iranian law as they stem solely from their own peaceful activism. Their activism is thus protected under Article 18, section 1, and Article 19, sections 1 and 2 of theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as Article 24 of Iran's Constitution.
Furthmore, the use of torture to extract confessions in this case is a flagrant violation of both international and Iranian law. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran has ratified, states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” In addition, Article 14(3)(g) of the ICCPR expressly states that a prisoner cannot be forced to testify against him or herself or to confess guilt. Article 38 of the Constitution of Iran prohibits torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information as well, and declares that all information obtained through torture and forced confessions is invalid.
Clearly, the Islamic Republic's henchmen are also motivated by the vindictive desire to punish Awazi Arabs for past activism, as witnessed by the fact that these men were arrested at their homes in February and March 2011 in advance of the sixth anniversary of widespread protests by Ahwazi Arabs in April 2005.
It is the Islamic Republic regime, not these six activists, who are guilty of committing serious crimes in this case. It is incumbent upon the international community to act accordingly!
The Free 5 Awazi Arab Activists In Iran, Sentenced To Death After Being Tortured For False "Confessions" petition to Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: awazi, arabs, iran, mohammad ali amouri, rahman asakereh, hashem sha’bani amouri, hadi rashidi, sayed jaber alboshoka, sayed mokhtar alboshoka, khuzhestan death sentence, torture, hanging