Amnesty fears for Ahwazi activists over 'secret assassinations'
Rights group Amnesty International have appealed to the Iranian government to free all detained Ahwazi Arab activists after they were told dozens of Ahwazi men have been killed in secret.
Over the past few days, Ahwazi Arab activists outside of Iran told Amnesty International that 22 men, including civil society activist Mohammad Momeni Timas, have been killed in secret.
“Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to reveal the whereabouts of all the detainees without further delay and provide information about what legal procedures have taken place to date. The authorities must give the families and their lawyers access to the detainees and ensure they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment”, Amnesty International said in a press release.
The Ahwazi are fighting for a separate state in Arabic-speaking Ahvaz province, with a number of militants attacks launched in Iran - mostly against infrastructure.
“Amnesty International is also calling on the authorities to release immediately and unconditionally any Ahwazi Arabs held solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association or peaceful assembly or solely on account of their ethnic identity”, the statement added.
The governor of Khuzestan province denied the accusations of the secret killings.
“While the Iranian authorities have a duty to bring to justice anyone suspected of criminal responsibility for the attack in Ahvaz in fair trials, they must not use this as an excuse to carry out a purge against members of Iran’s persecuted Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
In addition to the alleged secret killings, Iran has detained up to 600 Ahwazi Arabs after a deadly attack that was carried out on Khuzestan province, in Ahvaz on 22 September.
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