Wave of Arrests of Ahwazi Activists by Iranian Regime Following Dignity Friday Protests

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Following a series of Ahwazi popular protests, on Friday, December 8th, and Friday, December 15th, 2017, under the banner ”Dignity Friday”, in the Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district of Ahwaz capital, the Iranian intelligence service has summoned and arrested a huge number of Arab political, civil and cultural activists

The protests were organised to challenge racist discrimination in the recruitment practices to fill vacancies, the policy of favouring the Persian population settling in historically Arab Ahwazi lands (the Persianization of Arab land), the confiscation and looting of the land belonging to the Jalizi village farmers, the transfer of Karoon River water, as well as its degradation, and the resulting drought of Ahwazi wetlands and rivers.

According to Ahwaz Monitor sources inside Ahwaz region , elements of the Abolfazl Al-Abbas security base of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, in the Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, have arrested Ahwazi activists on charges of participating in the protest rallies on December 8th and 15th 2017, called the Dignity Friday protests, and organised in the Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district of Ahwaz capital.The Ahwazi demonstrations were triggered by the attack of elements of the Iranian army against Ahwaz farmers. The attack took place on the morning of Sunday, December 3rd, 2017, after Ahwazi people from the village of Jalizi had plowed their ancestral lands. The army-dependent organisation “ETKA”, claiming ownership of the land, took advantage of its government status as well as the cooperation of security forces to attack the women and men who were working on the farmland. Using tear gas and batons, the soldiers brutally attempted to expel the farmers from their historical lands.

Despite the authorities’ lack of cooperation,   Ahwaz Monitor has learned some of the names of those arrested by the Iranian intelligence service. Ahwazi sources say that more than 200 men were detained, coming from different parts of Ahwaz.The Ahwazi Human Rights Commission has identified and received the following names of detainees being held by the Iranian intelligence service:

-Younes Sarkhi, 24 years old and a resident of the Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, is a cultural activist and a famous poet. Mr. Sarkhi has been arrested several times in punishment for his civic activism and participation in the Eid al-Fitr ceremony, as well as in the process of helping the victims of the flood that hit the northern part of  Ahwaz in April, 2016. Younes Sarkhi was arrested by Abolfazl Al-Abbas security men on November 19th, at Farahani Street.

-Hassan Betrani, is a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district and brother to Ali, who was killed in the Ahwazi Intifada in 2005. Hassan has been arrested several times on charges of participating in many protests that took place in Ahwaz. He was detained on Sunday, December 17th.

-Saleh Tamulli Torfi, is a 36-year-old resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi). He was arrested and taken to the Abu Al-Fayz al-Abbas security base, on December 20th, at 10 pm Ahwaz time. Saleh has already served a 3-year prison term on charges of promoting propaganda against the Iranian regime on social networks. The Ahwazi activist was tried and sentenced in the Branch 4 Revolutionary Court, in a mockery of justice, and completed three years’ imprisonment in the Karoon and Sheyban Prison.

-Abdullah Chaldawi, son of Karim, a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Sunday, December 17th.

-Jaafar Chaldawi, son of Karim and brother of Abdullah (detainee number 4 on this list), and a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Sunday the December 17th.

-Eissa Zaeri, a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Tuesday, December 19th

-Mohammad Obeidawi, son of Zehraw, and a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Tuesday, December 19th.

-Walid Sawari, a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Tuesday, December 19th.

-Nader Rayhani (Alboghobesh), 30 years, is one of the most prominent activists in the city of “Al-Koura”. He has already been the target of terrible persecution, most notably an assassination attempt, in addition to multiple arrests for his cultural activity. He was arrested on December 12th.

-Hadi Chaldawi, son of Eidaw, 30 years old, a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Tuesday, December 19th.

-Nasser Abyat, son of Odeh, 32 years old and a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Tuesday, December 19th.

-Ali Zergani, 30 years old, was arrested on Wednesday, December 20th while he was working in a bicycle repair shop.

-Mohammed Haidari, son of Abduljabbar and a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Friday, December 22nd.

-Kazem Sari, son of Taher and a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Friday, December 22nd.

-Qasem Sari, son of Hatam, 24 years old and a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Friday, December 22nd.

-Shaker Silwawi, a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Friday, December 22nd.

-Ali Sari, son of Qassem (the fifteenth detainee on this list) and a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Friday, December 22nd.

-Adnan Sawari, a resident of Al-Thaorah (Alawi) district, was arrested on Friday, December 22nd, 2017.

The Ahwazi Human Rights Commission condemns the arbitrary arrests of Ahwazi activists, calls for their immediate and unconditional release, an end to the suppression of peaceful gatherings, an end to discriminatory hiring exercises, and an end to the policy of enforcing demographic change in Ahwaz.

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