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Resumption of torture of Ahwazi Arab political prisoners from Khalafabad (Ramshir) in Khuzestan after the imposition of death sentences

(17 August 2012) -- The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) has learned through informed sources in Ahwaz that five ethnic Arab political prisoners in Karun Prison in Ahwaz have been sentenced to death.  The five men include: 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 men were all sentenced to death on charges of muharibih (waging war against God) by Judge Seyyed Mohammad Bagher Mousavi of Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Ahwaz and subsequently transferred from Karun Prison to a detention center run by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in Ahwaz by MOIS agents on August 5, 2012.

IHRDC's sources add that when these five prisoners were transferred back to Karun Prison from the MOIS detention center two days ago, it became clear that they had been severely tortured during their ten days in the detention center. As a result, the prisoners' physical and mental conditions have deteriorated: Hadi Rashedi has a broken pelvis and Hashem Shabaninejad is in a coma. Shabaninejad's condition is critical. 

These abuses were carried out as the prisoners’ cases were still pending the final judgment of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). According to IHRDC's local source, after the imposition of the death sentence for all five prisoners and the transfer of their case file to the provincial Appellate Court, the people of Khalafabad protested the prisoners' sentences with a petition drive. Among the signers of the petition are teachers, poets, and other community leaders, in addition to cultural activists from local mosques. The signers have confirmed that the prisoners were all cultural and civil activists. IHRDC's source believes that this petition drive, along with the denial of the accused of the charges at trial in the Revolutionary Court and the civil protest against the prisoners' apparent forced confessions on Press TV—the IRI’s English-language, state supported satellite channel—prompted the MOIS agents’ harsh treatment of the prisoners.

Physical abuse of prisoners runs counter to, and is expressly prohibited by, provisions under international and Iranian laws. Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, prohibits the torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment of prisoners. Article 10 of the same document requires that prisoners be treated with humanity and respect for their inherent dignity. Article 38 of the Constitution of the IRI prohibits the use of torture for the purpose of extracting confessions and voids all testimony obtained under duress.


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Ahwazi Arabs