Ahwazi Arab prisoners at risk of execution, Amnesty warns
Amnesty International has warned against the imminent execution of two members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority convicted of “enmity against God”.
Abdullah Karmollah Chab and Ghassem Abdullah, Sunni Muslims from Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority, are on death row following a grossly unfair trial.
Amnesty says “confessions” they have said were obtained under torture and other ill-treatment, including electric shocks and mock executions, were used to convict them. Their cases are before the Supreme Court.
They have been convicted of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) in connection with an armed attack on a Shi’a religious ceremony in Safiabad, Khuzestan province, on 16 October 2015, which left two people dead.
They have denied any involvement in the attack.
Their lawyers have said there is no evidence linking them to the attack and have identified inconsistencies between the “confessions” that led to their convictions and the accounts of eyewitnesses present at the scene of the crime, according to Amnesty International.
On 19 October 2015, both men were arrested by the ministry of intelligence and held in solitary confinement in an unknown location for six months. They have since been moved to several different detention centres.
They have been given extremely limited access to their families through irregular telephone calls and only one visit. On 9 April 2019, they were transferred to a ministry of intelligence detention centre in Hamedan, Hamedan province, where they have been denied access to their families.
Both men have said they were subjected to months of torture in detention including by being beaten and given electric shocks.
Abdullah Karmollah Chab has said his interrogators hung him upside down for 11 days and subjected him to mock executions, saying they would execute and bury him in an unmarked grave.
For three mornings in a row, according to him, they woke him, put a sack over his head and a noose around his neck, and told him that if he “confessed” he would not be executed.
He refused, saying he was innocent. On the third day, he said he heard one of the interrogators say: “Just let him go. If he had anything to confess he would have done so by now.”
Both men were denied access to a lawyer until the day of their trial, when they were represented by a state-appointed lawyer. During their trial before the Revolutionary Court in Ahvaz on 22 June 2016, they reportedly removed some of their clothes to show torture marks on their bodies to the court. However, no investigation was ordered.
Iran’s Supreme Court later quashed the conviction and sentence due to lack of evidence and flawed investigations and ordered a retrial. On 6 July 2017, they were sentenced to death again. The case is now again before the Supreme Court for appeal.