The Iranian regime has reportedly hanged 22 Ahwazi Arabs in the past 72 hours after arresting over 1,000 people, including women and children, in recent weeks in a brutal crackdown in the region in southwestern Iran. The executed individuals include a 58-year-old man, who was killed along with his son aged 30.

According to human rights activists in the region, the victims’ families were summoned to regime intelligence headquarters to be informed of their loved ones’ execution and warned against holding any funereal rituals or ceremonies to mourn them, with the regime fearing that anger over the arrests and brutal mass executions could fuel further public unrest.    As usual, the families were denied the chance to see their loved ones’ bodies, which are buried in unmarked mass graves in an attempt to further ‘disgrace’ dissidents and to deter any protests at regime abuses.  Family members also said that the regime officials had mocked them and told them to “cheer up” when they expressed grief at their bereavement.

The regime justified the executions, as it has justified its latest ongoing campaign of mass arrests in the region, with vague fabricated allegations such as “acting against national security”.  The executions were carried out without any trial, with the detainees denied the right to any legal representation or to see their loved ones before being executed.

Activists in the region have confirmed the identities of 500 of the 1,000-plus Ahwazis taken into custody so far, who include women and children.   The latest brutal campaign is an effort to silence further protests or activism in the region, with many of the detainees targeted for campaigning or protesting for democracy and human rights or for participating in political, religious, civic or media-related activities, all of which are forbidden to the indigenous Arab people of the region.

The arrests and mass executions follow an attack by members of a local militia on a regime military parade in the region on September 22 in which 25 people, mostly regime military personnel, were killed. Although the regime has blamed the attack on ISIS, as it now does routinely in reaction to any attack on its personnel, the military wing of the Arab Struggle Liberation Movement for Ahwaz, which opposes ISIS as well as the regime, has claimed responsibility.

Although none of those executed by the regime were involved in or associated with the ASMLA or with the attack on the military parade, the regime is apparently using that attack to justify another crackdown against the long-suffering people who have escalated protests against regime oppression and demanded reform, freedom and human rights in recent years after facing persecution for decades

Speaking about the regime’s latest mass executions of Ahwazis, Kamil Alboshoka, an Ahwazi rights activist now based in London, said simply, “Out of vengefulness, these mass executions have been carried out in Ahwaz.”.

Human rights activists in Ahwaz said that the office of the regime’s infamous intelligence ministry contacted the families of the executed detainees on Saturday, November 10th to summon them to appear at its headquarters. On their arrival, they were given their loved ones’ death certificates and ordered not to hold any funeral ceremonies or mourning rituals or to receive anyone at their homes offering condolences, with the regime threatening to arrest anyone breaching these conditions.

As is standard for the regime, the grieving families were refused any opportunity to see their loved ones’ bodies or to know where they had been buried. The activists in Ahwaz, who wish to remain anonymous in order to protect their and their families’ own safety, further stated that some Iranian regime officials with the prison service and the ‘Revolutionary Courts’ have confirmed that the mass executions took place, but decided against announcing the news in state media.

The names of five of the 22 activists executed by the regime in this latest mass execution have been confirmed as:

  1. Mohmmad Moemeni Timas (Silawi), aged 58.
  2. Nassar Moemeni Timas (Silawi), son of Mohammad, aged 30.
  3. Ahmad Abdoudi (Heidari), aged 30.
  4. Ali Beit Sayah.
  5. Hatam Sawari, aged 24.

According to figures from Amnesty International and the US State Department, Iran’s regime is second only to China in per capita executions annually, with the number rising to its highest ever level since the current president, Hassan Rouhani, took office.

Ahwazi activists in Iran and in exile have appealed for international human rights organizations to condemn the latest executions and the Iranian regime’s escalation of its campaign against Ahwazis, and other minorities and dissidents, warning that the regime takes the silence on its persecution and crimes against humanity as a green light to increase its brutality and to kill many more, both domestically and regionally.

Rahim Hamid

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