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After being wrongly arrested in Iran, Ahwaz man kills himself

Ahwazi Arabs protest Iran's oil exploitation & human rights abuses outside the London offices of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on 3 July 2016 [Peter Tatchell Foundation]
Ahwazi Arabs protest Iran's oil exploitation & human rights abuses outside the London offices of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) on 3 July 2016 [Peter Tatchell Foundation]

Several Ahwazis wrongly arrested by Iranian regime forces for being in the same area as anti-regime protesters during the recent demonstrations said they were subjected to torture during their detention, with one so traumatised by the experience that he subsequently committed suicide.

Although the protesters were released after evidence was presented confirming they had not participated in the demonstrations, they have received no apology or redress from officials.

The Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation (AHRO) reports that during the latest protests which began in November, at least 2,500 Ahwazi citizens in the Ahwaz region were arrested and imprisoned in the prisons of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), its intelligence division, the Ministry of Intelligence, and other security institutions. Their fate remains unknown.

The AHRO reported that one of the people detained, an Ahwazi citizen identified as 45-year-old Qassim Bawi Al Wasmi from the village of Abu Debs, 15 kilometres from the city of Ahwaz, committed suicide by shooting himself a few days after his release. According to his family, he was severely distressed by the arrest and the torture he was subjected to during his detention.

READ: Iran teacher beats, racially abuses Ahwazi boy aged 9

The AHRO confirmed that between 70 and 100 Ahwazi demonstrators were shot dead by security forces and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards during November's protests.

Some of those detained reported being blindfolded throughout the duration of their detention, with all held in unventilated filthy cells which were so overcrowded that there was no space to sit down. One activist who was released after a brief period of detention said that the shocking conditions in the prisons are leading to illness and the spread of disease.

Detainees regularly reported being tortured and forced to confess to crimes they did not commit. Many such confessions have been broadcast in the weeks since the latest nationwide protests in November, during which regime forces shut off internet access in order to carry out a brutal crackdown; killing hundreds of protesters, including women and children.

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