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Six Ethnic Arabs Face Imminent Execution in Iran

May 12, 2023
3 min read
Six Ethnic Arabs Face Imminent Execution in Iran

Amnesty International has urged the Iranian authorities to immediately halt any plans to execute six men from the country's "persecuted" ethnic Arab minority and release them, saying that the gross violations of their rights to a fair trial renders their detention "arbitrary." 

Pending their release, the six should be provided access to their families, lawyers of their own choosing and adequate medical care, the London-based human rights watchdog said on May 12.

It said that a Revolutionary Court in the southern city of Ahvaz used the men's "torture-tainted" confessions to sentence them to death on February 14 on the charge of “waging war against God” in relation to armed operations carried out by a separatist group that led to deaths among security forces.

The sentences against Adnan Ghobeishavi, 25, Moein Khanfari, 28, Mohammad Reza Moghadam, 29, Salem Mousavi, 39, Habib Deris, 42, and Ali Mojadam, 43, were upheld by the Supreme Court on March 6, meaning they could be executed at any time. 

The men, who have denied the charges, "were denied lawyers of their own choosing and were never allowed access to their court-appointed lawyer, even at trial," and the authorities "barred them and their lawyer from accessing their casefile and verdict," Amnesty International said. 

The group cited sources as saying that agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) subjected Deris to "sleep deprivation, waterboarding, electric shocks, beatings, and hung him upside down while submerging his head into water."

Sources said they gave Khanfari electric shocks and "tied him in a stress position while beating and flogging him."

Amnesty International also received information indicating that agents gave Mojadam electric shocks to his ears and detained his wife and child to force him to give “confessions” in front of a video camera, which was broadcast on state television prior to trial.

Separately, the human rights group expressed grave concern that three other Iranian men are at imminent risk of execution at central Isfahan prison after the Supreme Court upheld their "unjust" convictions and death sentences in earlier this month.

Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were arrested in mid-November and sentenced in relation to anti-government protests in the city. The men were denied access to lawyers and were forced to make forced “confessions.” 

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei must immediately halt any plans to execute them, quash their convictions and death sentences, and "urgently establish an official moratorium on all executions with a view of abolishing the death penalty," Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International's pleas came as New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the international community to condemn the Iranian authorities’ "dramatic escalation" of executions in recent weeks, calling it a "serious violation of the right to life."

At least 60 people have been executed across the country since late April after unfair trials or for charges that under international law should not result in the death penalty, it said in a statement.

Many of those executed recently were convicted of drug-related charges.

Rights groups accuse the Islamic Republic, one of the world’s top executioners, of using the death penalty as a means to intimidate Iranians after nationwide protests erupted in September 2022 following the death in custody of 22-year old Mahsa Amini.

Campaigners have warned that members of ethnic minorities have been disproportionately targeted by the spate of executions.



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