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Iran Human Rights: revoke the execution sentence of two Ahwazi Arabs

Iran Human Rights, December 10: Iranian authorities moved two prominent Ahwazi Arab prisoners from Karoun Prison to an undisclosed location on 7 December, prompting fears they could be executed.

Iran Human Rights calls for the Iranian authorities to immediately overturn the death sentences of the men, who were subjected to torture and unfair trials that have been condemned by several UN experts. IHR’s appeal comes just days after four other Ahwazi Arab prisoners were taken from Karoun Prison and executed.

 Hashem Shabani (32) and Hadi Rashedi (38) were sentenced to death for Moharebeh ("enmity against God"), Mufsid-fil-Arz ("corruption on earth") and spreading propaganda against the system in July 2012 alongside three other political prisoners. All are founding members of Al-Hiwar, a cultural institute that promoted Arabic education, literature and cultural activities among deprived Ahwazi Arab youth.

Insisting on his innocence and demanding a retrial before an impartial court, Shabani has retracted the "confession" made following torture and has repeatedly repudiated violence. In a letter smuggled out of prison, Shabani wrote that he had written blogs and essays critical of the treatment of minorities in Iran, including "hideous crimes against Ahwazis

perpetrated by the Iranian authorities, particularly arbitrary and unjust executions. Through this reporting, I was defending the legitimate right that every nation in this world should have which is the right to live freely with full civil rights. With all these miseries and tragedies, I have never used a weapon to fight these atrocious crimes except the pen. "

The death sentences against the men were met with condemnation by a group of five United Nations independent experts in January, who accused the Iranian authorities of torture and unfair trials.

The European Union subsequently imposed sanctions on judge Seyyed Mohammad Bagher Moussavi of Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court who sentenced the men to death as well as the officials responsible for broadcasting the "confessions", head of IRIB World Service and Press TV Muhammad Sarafraz and Press TV newsroom director Hamid Reza Emadi