Jail, exile and death for young Arab prisoners
The Ahvaz Revolutionary Court has sentenced a number of Arab-minority political prisoners to death and imprisonment.
Ahvaz human rights groups report that the prisoners faced “a year of detention and torture” before their sentencing. Teh Heydarian, 28; Nasser Heydarian, 21; Abbas Heydarian, 24, and Ali Sharifi, 25, all from the Mollashieh neighbourhood, were each sentenced to 10 years in jail and execution.
Amir Moavi, 24, has been sentenced to 38 years in jail and Abbas Heydari, 26, to 18 years. Both Moavi and Heydari are also exiled to northern Province of Mazandaran for the duration of their jail term.
The Mollashieh neighbourhood is located in the southernmost part of Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan Province in southwest Iran. A mainly Arab neighbourhood, Mollashieh is reportedly lacking in recreational, cultural and library facilities despite its high population of youth.
The six convicted political prisoners were arrested last year after a peaceful demonstration in Ahvaz in protest against their “unfavourable and discriminatory situation” in Khuzestan province. The protests were met with state violence that left 12 dead, 20 wounded and scores arrested.
In the past year, according to human rights reports, three political prisoners arrested in the Khuzestan protests have died from abuse and torture in prison.
Reports indicate that another demonstration on January 13 was again met with government force, and Human Rights Watch reports that 65 people were arrested.