OutRage! news Service... Nov 17.
Iran – Protest against executions of Arabs
Emergency protest this Saturday, 18 November 2006
1pm outside the Iranian Embassy in London.
Supported by Ahwazi Arab human rights and community groups, Iranian
democrats and socialists – and by OutRage!
We urge you to attend to help save the lives of these men.
Demonstration against executions & ethnic cleansing of Ahwazi Arabs:
Saturday 18 November 2006
16 Prince's Gate
London SW7 1PT
Nearest tube: South Kensington
See background briefing below, and also:
Ali Bani Turfi, Ahwaz Community Association UK - 07984 300101
Daniel Brett, British-Ahwazi Friendship Society - 01799 523246
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner - 020 7403 1790
Eleven Ahwazi Arab rights activists are scheduled to be hanged in Iran
in the next few days, according the Iranian media.
They will by hanged from cranes in public, using the slow
strangulation method, which is deliberately designed to maximise and
prolong their suffering.
The campaign against the executions is backed in the UK by Labour MP
Chris Bryant, Tory MP Michael Gove and Green MEPs, Caroline Lucas and
“The 11 men were found guilty of bombing oil installations in 2005.
But no material evidence of their guilt was offered at their trial.
All the evidence points to their innocence, “said human rights
campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has written about, and campaigned
against, Tehran’s persecution of the Ahwazi Arab people.
“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly
expressed serious concerns about the fairness of trials involving
Ahwazi Arabs and the safety of their convictions.
“The men’s lawyers were not allowed to see them prior to their trial
and they were given the prosecution case only hours before the start
of the court proceedings, which were held in secret. Witnesses for the
defence were refused permission to testify.
“The lawyers for the condemned men have been arrested for complaining
about the illegal and unjust nature of the men's trials. They have
been charged with threatening national security.
“The 11 men sentenced to death were tortured into making false
confessions, which were broadcast on Iranian television last Monday,
13 November 2006.
“It is widely believed that these men have been framed as part of
Tehran's on-going persecution of its Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority
population in south-west Iran (the province of Khuzestan).
“In a recent letter to the chief of the judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi
Shahroudi, one of Iran’s leading human rights activists, Emadeddin
Baghi, said that the trials of Ahwazi Arabs were flawed, the charges
baseless, and that the sentencing was based on a spurious
interpretation of the law.
“We appeal to the international community to lobby Tehran to stop
these executions. The death penalty is an abuse of human rights law,
regardless of whether it happens in the US, China or Iran.
“The US and Europe should halt their one-sided obsession with Iran’s
nuclear programme, and focus instead on securing international
agreement to pressure Tehran over its systemic violation of human
“The planned hangings look like a deliberate attempt by Tehran to
intimidate and silence Ahwazi Arab protests against ethnic cleansing
and mass impoverishment,” said Mr Tatchell.
Mr Tatchell’s Arab Muslim colleague, Ali Hilli, Middle East Affairs
spokesperson for the gay human rights group OutRage!, added:
“These flawed trials and barbaric executions of Arabs by the Islamist
dictatorship in Tehran are a perversion of Islam. The regime is
without mercy and compassion. It is racist against fellow Muslims
because of their ethnic origins.
“These death sentences are part of a pattern of gross human rights
abuses. Iran also executes Muslims who turn away from their faith,
unchaste women and gay people.
“It is training, financing and arming the Islamist death squads in
Iraq. With Tehran’s approval, these killers are murdering Sunni
Muslims, men wearing jeans or shorts, unveiled women, barbers, sellers
of alcohol and videos, and people who listen to western music or who
have a stylish haircut.
“Contrary to Tehran’s misinformation campaign, the vast majority of
Ahwazi Arabs reject separatism. They want regional self-government,
not independence. Nor do they support a US invasion. This would, they
argue, strengthen the position of the hardliners in Tehran, allowing
President Ahmadinejad to use the pretext of defence and security to
play the nationalist card and to further crack down on dissent. Many
Ahwazis believe the route to reform is an internal alliance of Iranian
democrats, leftists, trade unionists, minority nationalities and local
civic organisations,“ said Mr Hilli.
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, OutRage!
+ 44 (0) 20 7403 1790