An Ahwazi family appeals to international organizations to place enough pressure on the Iranian regime to reveal the fate of their 17-year-old son, Hamza Asakereh, abducted by regime forces in 2015.
Hamza’s parents called on Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to put pressure on the Iranian regime to reveal the fate of their son, who was abducted in front of the family’s home in February 2015 by Iranian intelligence service agents.
The family said that they hold the regime authorities responsible for their son’s disappearance and for whatever has happened to him.
Forced disappearances and campaigns of mass arrest are standard tactics for the regime, which aim to terrorise the Ahwazi people into silence and crush any protest against the brutal de facto apartheid system which the people are subjected to.
The regime has sharply stepped up both forced disappearances and arrests in the past couple of years. The mass arrest campaigns, which are carried out without any prior notification or warrant, usually target political and cultural activists, human rights campaigners and members of humanitarian organisations, although ordinary citizens with no activist history, including children, are often detained, as Hamza Asakereh’s arrest again shows.
Many families are too scared to speak out publicly about their loved ones’ disappearance, fearing that other family members will be targeted by the regime in retaliation.
Torture in the regime’s prisons is standard for those forcibly ‘disappeared’ or arrested, with lengthy prison sentences arbitrarily imposed on false charges following kangaroo trials.
Many such cases have been documented since 2005 in Ahwaz when the regime once again began escalating its abuses, with activists dragged away from their homes or workplaces or during any public demonstrations. Between 2005 and 2007, many bodies of protesters detained earlier by the regime were recovered from the Karoon river where they had been thrown by regime intelligence agents after being tortured. Some had been so severely tortured and burnt or partially eaten by fish that their remains were unrecognisable.
It should be noted that the regime frequently uses charges such as Moharebeh or ‘enmity to God’ – a vague, all-encompassing accusation – against Ahwazi Arab activists and any other campaigners for freedom and human rights in Iran, with Ahwazis also routinely charged with such ‘crimes’ as supporting separatism or teaching Arabic; all these ‘crimes’ can incur harsh sentences, including lengthy prison terms and the death penalty.