Further Information on UA 301/06 (MDE 13/126/2006, 13 November 2006) Fear of imminent execution

IRAN

Abdullah Suleymani (m) aged 27
Abdulreza Sanawati Zergani (m)
Qasem Salamat (m) aged 43
Mohammad Jaab Pour (m)
Abdulamir Farjallah Jaab (m)
Alireza Asakreh (m)
Majed Alboghubaish (m)
Khalaf Derhab Khudayrawi (m)
Malek Banitamim (m) aged 30

New names:

Abdul Husain Haribi (m)
Husain Maramazi (m)
Husain Asakreh (m)
The nine men named above remain at risk of imminent execution. A further three members of Iran's Arab minority, Abdul Husain Haribi, Husain Maramazi and Husain Asakreh, have also since reportedly been sentenced to death in connection with involvement in bomb explosions.

On 13 November, an Iranian local television station, Khuzestan TV, broadcast a documentary which included the “confessions” of 10 men: Abdullah Suleymani, Abdulreza Sanawati Zergani, Qasem Salamat, Mohammad Jaab Pour, Abdulamir Farjallah Jaab, Alireza Asakreh, Majed Alboghubaish, Khalaf Derhab Khudayrawi, Malek Banitamim, and a tenth man, named as Ali Motairi Nejad. The 10 men had been sentenced to death in connection with involvement in bomb explosions which took place in major cities in Khuzestan Province in 2005. Amnesty International believes this man to be Ali Matouri Zadeh, who was arrested along with his pregnant wife on 28 February 2006 (see UA 107/06, MDE 13/042/2006, 28 April 2006 and follow up). In the programme, the 10 people, said to be members of a group named Al-e Naser, (a little-known Iranian Arab militant group that is not known to have been active since the time of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s) "confessed" to their involvement in the bomb explosions.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the men may be executed in their home towns and villages in Khuzestan province.

Following a one-day closed trial at a Revolutionary Court in Shadegan in Khuzestan province on 16 November 2006, Abdul Husain Haribi, Husain Maramazi and Husain Asakreh were reportedly sentenced to death, accused of bombing oil pipelines in Khuzestan. Amnesty International does not have any further details about their case.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan, which borders Iraq. The province is strategically important because it is the site of much of Iran’s oil reserves, but the Arab population does not feel it has benefited as much from the oil revenue as the Persian population. Historically, the Arab community has been marginalised and discriminated against. Tension has mounted among the Arab population since April 2005, after it was alleged that the government planned to disperse the country's Arab population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. Hundreds were arrested and there have been reports of torture. Following bomb explosions in Ahvaz City in June and October 2005, which killed at least 14 people, and explosions at oil installations in September and October, the cycle of violence intensified, with hundreds people reportedly arrested. Further bombings on 24 January 2006, in which at least six people were killed, were followed by further mass arrests. Two men, Mehdi Nawaseri and Ali Awdeh Afrawi, were executed in public on 2 March after they were convicted of involvement in the October bombings. Their executions followed unfair trials before a Revolutionary Court during which they are believed to have been denied access to lawyers, and their "confessions", along with those of seven other men, were broadcast on television. At least 13 other Iranian Arabs are also reportedly under sentence of death, accused of involvement in the bombings, distributing material against the state, having contact with dissident organizations operating abroad, and endangering state security. Amnesty International recognizes the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but is unconditionally opposed to the death penalty as the ultimate violation of the right to life. Please see Iran: Death Sentences appeal case – 11 Iranian Arab men facing death sentences, AI Index MDE 13/051/2006, May 2006).

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