Thursday, April 06, 2006

Iran: Fear of Torture and Ill-treatment

Amnesty International: Urgent Action
Sakina Naisi was reportedly taken to a hospital in Ahvaz earlier this month after suffering blood loss, possibly caused by torture and ill-treatment. She was four months pregnant, and doctors reportedly had to perform an abortion because of the injuries she had sustained. She remains in hospital, in a heavily guarded room.

Another Arab woman, Hoda Hawashemi, was reportedly arrested at her home in Ahvaz on 1 April, together with her two young sons. Their whereabouts are unknown.

Her husband, Habib Farajallah Chaab, is a prominent activist for the rights of Iran's Arab minority, and is wanted by the Iranian authorities.

Sakina Naisi's husband, Ahmad Naisi, is also a prominent Arab activist, and he too is said to be wanted by the authorities. Following Sakina Naisi’s arrest, the Iranian authorities reportedly destroyed her husband’s family home in the Sho’aybiyeh district of Ahvaz with bulldozers.

Amnesty International believes that all eight women and children named above are most probably held solely in an attempt to force their husbands and fathers to give themselves up to the authorities. As such they would be prisoners of conscience. READ MORE


Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan which borders Iraq. It 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 have been 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 has intensified, with hundreds of 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 six other men, were broadcast on television.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, Arabic, Persian or your own language:

- expressing concern that the four women and four children named above are very probably prisoners of conscience, held solely in order to force their husbands and fathers to give themselves up to the Iranian authorities;

- calling on the authorities to release all eight immediately and unconditionally;

- expressing concern for their safety and seeking assurances that they are not being tortured or ill-treated in detention;

- calling for all the detainees to be given immediate access to lawyers of their own choosing, their families and medical treatment as required.

Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98 251 774 2228 (mark "FAO the Office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei")
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: (mark "Please forward to His Excellency Ayatollah Shahroudi")
via the judiciary website:
Salutation: Your Excellency

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98 21 6 649 5880
via website:

Minister of the Interior
Hojjatoleslam Mustafa Purmohammadi
Ministry of the Interior, Dr Fatemi Avenue, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98 21 8 896 203
+ 98 21 8 899 547
+ 98 21 6 650 203

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 16 May 2006