Statement Against the Execution of Four Ahwazi Arabs and the Death Penalty in Iran

July 2, 2012

(2 July 2012) Concurrent with the execution of four Iranians in Saudi Arabia, and despite warnings by human rights activists and institutions, four Ahwazi Arab prisoners-- Taha Heidarian, Abdolrahman Heidarian, Abbas Heidarian, and Ali Sharifi-- were secretly executed by the Iranian authorities. The prisoners- three of them brothers- were arrested following civil unrest and protests in April 2011 in Ahwaz (Capital of the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan). According to reliable reports, the Heidarian brothers and Ali Sharifi were charged and convicted of  of Moharebeh (waging war against God) after they had given confessions under torture. They were denied fair trials or any other legal proceedings, and their most basic rights as political prisoner were violated. Furthermore, their bodies were not returned to their families and civil protests in objection to their executions were suppressed.

Many of the Arab prisoners are held in security detention centers in the province of Khuzestan or in prisons across Iran. There is particular concern surrounding the unclear statuses of the other Ahwazi Arab political prisoners who share the same case file as the Heidarian brothers and Ali Sharifi.

Death penalty  in Iran- particularly the executions carried out in public- are the main tools to spread fear in the society and promote a culture of violence among the people. Often times, victims of the execution belong to the most defenseless social groups in the Iranian society. Ethnic and religious minorities which as a result of the systematic discrimination have been marginalized, are a main targets of the Iranian authority’s lawless system.

The right to life is the most fundamental human right. The denial of this right makes it impossible to uphold any other human right. We, the undersigned, condemn the execution of the four Ahwazi Arab political prisoners,  and urge human rights defenders and organizations to reflect the voices of those on death row in Iran and act immediately to save their lives. We welcome the recent joint statement by the UN Special Rapporteurs condemning the executions and urge the United Nation’s Human Rights Council to react to these executions by issuing a statement. We also urge the UN General Secretary Bang Ki Moon to give urgent attention to the issue of the arbitrary executions in Iran.

The Campaign in Support of Imprisoned Ahwazi Arabs Condemned to Death, July 2, 2012

    1.    Shirin Ebadi, Noble prize Laureate
    2.    Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation
    3.    Arseh Sevom (Third Sphere)
    4.    Center for Combating Racism and Discrimination against Arabs in Iran” (CCRDAI)
    5.    Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR)
    6.    European Ahwazi Human Rights Organization
    7.    International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
    8.    Iran Human Rights
    9.    Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
    10.  Justice for Iran NGO
    11.  Kurdish Human Rights Association 
    12.  Kurdish Human Rights Network
    13.  The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation
    14.  The Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran
    15.  United4Iran