Urgent Appeal to United Nations Special Rapporteurs: Ahwazi Arab Activists Tortured, Risk Execution in Iran
Justice for Iran issued an urgent appeal to a number of United Nations Special Rapporteurs regarding the torture of three Ahwazi Arab cultural activists in Iran and the real risk of their execution after an unfair trial before the Revolutionary Court of Ahwaz. The appeal follows the broadcast of their forced confessions by Iran’s state-controlled Press TV.
Ali Chebeishat, Sayed Khaled Mousavi, and Salman Chayani were arrested on 10 November 2012 in the village of Khalaf Kaab Imsallam near the city of Shush in Khuzestan Province. They were held incommunicado for seven months while denied access to lawyer and family members at the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Centre in Ahwaz in South West of Iran. Intelligence officials illegally held the three incommunicado while subjecting each to severe torture with a view to extract confession in order to implicate them in the October 2012 explosion of the Chogha Zanbil natural gas pipeline near the village of Khalaf Kaab Imsallam.
Apart from these foced “confessions”, there is no evidence in relation to the explosion of the Chogha Zanbil natural gas pipeline. Indeed, the authorities initially declared that the explosion was an accident. Nonetheless, on 9 September 2013, Judge Sayed Mohammed Baqir Mousavi of the Second Branch of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court convicted the three men of moharebeh and sentenced Mr. Chebeishat and Mr. Mousavi to execution and Mr. Chayani to 25 years of imprisonment in exile in Yazd in central Iran, a violation of Iran’s national code.
Despite credible allegations of serious ongoing torture and ill-treatment, the authorities have failed to carry out a full, effective and impartial investigation in order to identify and prosecute those responsible. Instead, they have made a concerted effort to forcefully extract and broadcast false confessions on state-controlled channels and use them as incriminating evidence.
Ministry of Intelligence authorities have also abused prisoners’ families by both refusing to supply information regarding their detained family members, and coercing them to participate in a confessional documentary entitled “Lost in Darkness”. “The facts before us give rise to separate claims of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment on the families’ behalf. The authorities caused families psychological trauma through the secret detention and torture of their loved ones. They also degraded the family members by forcing them to watch the false confessions of their loved ones while being filmed as a condition to access their right to visitation.
In its urgent appeal on 4 December 2013, Justice For Iran has requested that United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Torture, and on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions inquire into these violations and take the necessary steps to urge Islamic Republic authorities to ensure Ali Chebeishat, Sayed Khaled Mousavi, and Salman Chayani and their next of kin are not subjected to further torture and ill-treatment, but instead receive a fair hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal. Justice for Iran recalls that the Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged under international law to exclude all evidence obtained through torture and ensure that the detained men fully exercise their right to access counsel of choice and are redressed for the serious human rights violations they have suffered.