Baloch Human Rights Council condemns Iranian regime’s barbaric acts in Balochistan

30.11.2008

Appeal to save lives of 5 innocent Baloch from imminent execution

Five innocent Sunni Baloch Scholars and charitable persons, Hafiz Salah-uddin Saeidi, Molavi Khalil-ullah Zarahi, Molavi Abdulmajeed Salahzai, Sofi Obid-ullah Machkowri and Haji Aabid Gwahramzai were put on a show trial by the Iranian regime in Zahidan and charged with serious but totally fabricated allegations of being at war with Almighty God, anti-state activities, possession of fire arms, planting road-side bombs, creating terror and so on, on Wednesday 19th Nov 2008. They were arrested in Mohammad-Abad of Iranshar sometimes in June 2008, and their trial was held after 5 months of degrading imprisonment with torture.

Though the Iranian regime claimed that the trial was open and transparent, but there are credible reports from the relatives of the five Baloch Sunni leaders the trial was far from any international norms. They were denied access to independent lawyers. Only few members of families of them were allowed to observe some part of the trial on the conditions that they refrain themselves from reporting any part of the trial. It is noteworthy to state that none of the family members have any knowledge or familiarities with law and legal matters and procedures. In fact the father of Sofi Obid-ullah Machkowri, Haji Karimbax was barred to observe his son’s trial and forced out of the building by force.

The prosecution demanded that the five accused Baloch should receive maximum sentence. In Iran unfortunately it means death by execution.

The regime executed two innocent great Baloch Sunni lecturers, Molavi Abdul-Qudos Molazai and Molavi Mohd-Yusuf Sohrabi in March 2008 on exactly same charges.

However, they refused to accept possession of fire-arms, links with anti-state groups, planting bombs and creating terror among the population, and pleaded not guilty, and stated to the court on the grounds that there is no evidence to link them to those allegations. They refuted all charges and pronounced that since they are religious scholars, in no way they can be deemed to be at war with Almighty God. Sunni Baloch in Balochistan testify that they posed no threat to anyone and they are very popular with the public as Sunni religious scholars.

Now it is feared that the authorities of the Iranian regime are sentencing them with capital punishment of death by execution despite not establishing guilt beyond any reasonable doubts.

Baloch Human Rights Council appeals to all people of the world and humanitarian organisations, democratic institutions and states to help these innocent Baloch from imminent execution and requests you to kindly write to Mr Sharodi, the head of Iranian Judiciary, and also directly to Mr Mahguli, the presiding judge in Zahidan, and urge them for reconsideration of the trial and ultimate release of them as the charges are unfounded. BHRC calls upon people of Balochistan to resist with resolve the regime and its policies of annihilation. BHRC call upon international community and the champions of Islamic brotherhood to assist the Baloch nation in the face of barbaric atrocities being committed by the most atrocious regimes on the planet earth.

Background on ill-treatment of Sunni Baloch in Iran

The oppressed people of Balochistan have been suffering immensely from the oppressive policies of the Iranian regime for the past three decades. The harassment, intimidation, mass arrests, imprisonment without trial, inhuman torture, execution of innocent Baloch youths, social workers, human rights activists and religious leaders are the norms in Iranian Balochistan. There is hardly any week gone by that the barbaric regime refrained itself from carrying execution in Balochistan. 

The regime demolished Azim Abad mosque and Abu-Hannifa Madras (school) in Balochistan on 27 August 2008 and arrested hundreds of Baloch Talibs (Students). Also the regime executed two innocent great Baloch Sunni lecturers, Molavi Abdul-Qudos Molazai and Molavi Mohd-Yusuf Sohrabi with two other Sunni Baloch peers in 10 April 2008.

Another Sunni Lectrure, Sheikh Ali Dehwari was gunned down by unknown hit-mans in Sarawan when he left prayer on Nov 10th, 2008.

Baloch civic activist Mr Yahgob Mehrnehad was executed on fabricated charges in Feb 2008. Molana Ahmad Naroei and other innocent Baloch are still in degrading prisons.

During January in two occasions mass executions were carried out by the regime in central prison in Zahidan. The regime even resorted to barbaric and medieval acts of amputation in Balochistan. On the 7th Jan 08, the regime carried out this barbaric and dreadful act on five Baloch in Zahidan and cut off their hands and legs. Again in this January in Pahra (Iranshahr as it is known) a large number of Baloch human rights activists were arrested and put in prison for totally fabricated allegations. Similarly a large number of Baloch youth were arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned in Chabar on suspicion of being involved with the Baloch resistance movement against the Iranian subjugation. 

The regime’s approach to Balochistan is of savage invaders and their policies are aimed not only to marginalise but to annihilate Baloch nation. In 2007, the regimes’ representative for Zahidan in the Iranian parliament, Dr Sharyari unashamedly and proudly announced the execution of 700 Baloch by the regime. The killing of two innocent Baloch children by regime’s murderer forces (so called security forces) on 3rd of Jan 08 in Zahidan once again proved that the regime recognises no principles when it concerns Balochistan. 

The regime has been embarking on an unprecedented level on promoting Shi’ism by despatching Shi’ia Clergies in hundreds to far-fetched villages in Balochistan where there is no single Shii’a person. The City of Rask in Balochistan had no Shii’a prior to this regime in 1979, but now it has a seizble Shii’a converts with glorious Mosque, provided and built by the regime. Baloch people feel that every aspect of their lives is under direct attack from the regime. Baloch have been resisting with their full resolve the oppressive regime. 

Baloch Human Rights Council as a defender of the defenceless Baloch people condemns the regime in strongest terms for its barbaric acts of amputation, executions, arbitrary arrest of Baloch activists and imposition of Shi’ism in Balochistan. 

 BALOCH HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

bhrcuk@gmail.com

Dated: 28/11/2008

London (UK)

Iran’s ‘year of shame’: More than 7,000 arrested in chilling crackdown on dissent during 2018

24 January 2019 – Amnesty International

The Iranian authorities carried out a shameless campaign of repression during 2018, crushing protests and arresting thousands in a wide-scale crackdown on dissent, said Amnesty International, a year after a wave of protests against poverty, corruption and authoritarianism erupted across the country.

The organization has today revealed staggering new figures showing the extent of the Iranian authorities’ repression during 2018. Over the course of the year, more than 7,000 protesters, students, journalists, environmental activists, workers and human rights defenders, including lawyers, women’s rights activists, minority rights activists and trade unionists, were arrested, many arbitrarily. Hundreds were sentenced to prison terms or flogging and at least 26 protesters were killed. Nine people arrested in connection with protests died in custody under suspicious circumstances. 

“2018 will go down in history as a ‘year of shame’ for Iran. Throughout the year Iran’s authorities sought to stifle any sign of dissent by stepping up their crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and carrying out mass arrests of protesters,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director. 

“The staggering scale of arrests, imprisonments and flogging sentences reveal the extreme lengths the authorities have gone to in order to suppress peaceful dissent.”  The staggering scale of arrests, imprisonments and flogging sentences reveal the extreme lengths the authorities have gone to in order to suppress peaceful dissent Philip Luther, MENA Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty International

Throughout the year and particularly during the months of January, July and August, the Iranian authorities violently dispersed peaceful demonstrations, beating unarmed protesters and using live ammunition, tear gas and water cannons against them. Thousands of people were arbitrarily arrested and detained.

Some of those swept up in the wave of arrests during the January protests were students, human rights defenders and journalists. Also targeted were the managers of channels on the popular mobile messaging application Telegram, which was used to disseminate news about the protests and to mobilize demonstrators.

Overall in 2018, whether in the context of protests or as a result of their work 11 lawyers, 50 media workers and 91 students were detained arbitrarily. 

At least 20 media workers were sentenced to harsh prison or flogging sentences after unfair trials. One journalist, Mohammad Hossein Sodagar, from the Azerbaijani Turkic ethnic minority, was flogged 74 times in the city of Khoy in West Azerbaijan province after being convicted of “spreading lies”. Another media worker, Mostafa Abdi, who is an administrator of the Majzooban-e-Noor website, which reports on human rights abuses against the Gonabadi Dervish religious minority, was sentenced to 26 years and three months in prison, 148 lashes, and other punishments. 

In addition, at least 112 women human rights defenders were arrested or remained in detention in Iran during 2018.

Women’s rights defenders 

Throughout 2018, brave women’s rights defenders across the country joined an unprecedented protest movement against the abusive and discriminatory forced hijab (veiling) laws in Iran. Women took to the streets and stood on top of raised structures in public places, silently waving their headscarves on the ends of sticks. In response, they suffered a bitter backlash from the authorities, facing violent assault, arrest and torture and other ill-treatment. Some were sentenced to prison terms after grossly unfair trials. 

Demonstration in support of protesting steel workers in Ahvaz by their families.
A woman peacefully protesting against forced hijab in the city of Karaj, Alborz Province. © White Wednesdays Campaign

Shaparak Shajarizadeh was sentenced to 20 years in prison, 18 of which were suspended, for her peaceful protest against forced hijab. She fled Iran after she was released on bail and has since described in media interviews how she was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in solitary confinement and denied access to her lawyer.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender, who represented Shaparak Shajarizadeh, was herself arrested on 13 June 2018 for defending protesters against forced hijab. She faces several national security-related charges which could see her sentenced to more than a decade in prison, in addition to the five-year sentence she is already serving for her work against the death penalty. 

“Throughout 2018, the Iranian authorities waged a particularly sinister crackdown against women’s rights defenders. Instead of cruelly punishing women for demanding their rights, the authorities should put an end to the rampant and entrenched discrimination and violence they face,” said Philip Luther. 

Workers’ rights and trade unionists 

The year 2018 also saw Iran engulfed in a deepening economic crisis which triggered numerous strikes and spurred workers to take to the streets in their thousands to call for better working conditions and protections by the government. Delays and non-payment of wages amidst high levels of inflation, skyrocketing living costs and poor working conditions also provoked protests.

Instead of addressing their complaints, however, the Iranian authorities arrested at least 467 workers, including teachers, truck drivers and factory workers, summoned others for questioning and subjected many to torture and other ill-treatment. Dozens were sentenced to prison terms. Iranian courts also handed down flogging sentences amounting to a total of nearly 3,000 lashes against 38 workers. 

On 10 May, the Iranian authorities violently dispersed a peaceful protest by teachers in Tehran, who were calling for higher wages and better funding of the country’s public education system. By the end of the year, the authorities had arrested at least 23 teachers following nationwide strikes in October and November. Eight were sentenced to between nine months and 10 and a half years in prison, 74 lashes each, and other penalties.

Throughout the year, at least 278 truck drivers were arrested and some threatened with the death penalty after they took part in nationwide strikes demanding better working conditions and higher wages. Following strikes in February and November, dozens of striking workers from the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company in Shush, south-west Iran, were arrested.  From underpaid teachers to factory workers struggling to feed their families, those who have dared to demand their rights in Iran today have paid a heavy price Philip Luther, MENA Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty International

“From underpaid teachers to factory workers struggling to feed their families, those who have dared to demand their rights in Iran today have paid a heavy price. Instead of ensuring workers’ demands are heard, the authorities have responded with heavy handedness, mass arrests and repression,” said Philip Luther.

Ethnic and religious minorities

During 2018, Iran also intensified its discriminatory crackdowns against religious and ethnic minorities by arbitrarily arresting and imprisoning hundreds, and curtailing their access to education, employment and other services.

Members of Iran’s largest Sufi order, the Gonabadi Dervish religious minority, faced a particularly vicious crackdown after a peaceful protest they held in February 2018 was violently quashed. Hundreds were arrested and more than 200 were sentenced to a total of 1,080 years in prison, 5,995 lashes as well as internal “exile”, travel bans, and bans on joining political and social groups. One person, Mohammad Salas, was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial and swiftly executed.

At least 171 Christians were arrested in 2018 solely for peacefully practising their faith, according to the organization Article 18. Some received sentences of up to 15 years in prison.

The authorities also continued their systematic persecution of the Baha’i religious minority, arbitrarily detaining at least 95, according to the organization Baha’i International Community, and committing other abuses against them.

Hundreds of people from ethnic minority groups including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, Kurds and Turkmen have also faced human rights abuses including discrimination and arbitrary detention.

Hundreds of Ahwazi Arabs were rounded up after protests in April over a state TV broadcast which excluded Ahwazi Arabs from a map showing the location of Iran’s ethnic minorities. In October, following a deadly armed attack on a military parade in Ahvaz the previous month, more than 700 Ahwazi Arabs were detained incommunicado according to activists outside Iran.

Hundreds of Azerbaijani Turks, including minority rights activists, were also violently arrested in connection with peaceful cultural gatherings throughout the year, including in July and August, when at least 120 people were arrested. Some activists were sentenced to prison terms and flogging. Minority rights activist Milad Akbari was flogged in the city of Tabriz, East Azerbaijan province, after he was convicted of “disrupting public order” through “taking part in illegal gatherings and singing eccentric songs” at a cultural gathering. Governments which are engaged in dialogue with Iran must not stay silent while the net of repression rapidly widens Philip Luther, MENA Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty International

Environmental rights activists

At least 63 environmental activists and researchers were arrested in 2018, according to media reports. The Iranian authorities accused a number of them, without providing any evidence, of collecting classified information about Iran’s strategic areas under the pretext of carrying out environmental and scientific projects. At least five were charged with “corruption on earth”, which carries the death penalty.


“Throughout 2018 the Iranian authorities have sought to crush the spirits of protesters and human rights defenders demanding respect for human rights by carrying out mass arrests and even grotesque flogging sentences,” said Philip Luther.

“Governments which are engaged in dialogue with Iran must not stay silent while the net of repression rapidly widens. They must speak out in the strongest terms against the crackdown and forcefully call on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those jailed for peacefully expressing their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, including through their human rights activism.”

Source: Amnesty International