NCRI – Amnesty International expressed fear for the life of a political refugee who was forcibly returned to Iran from Syria over a week ago. The following is the AI’s public statement (AI Index: MDE 13/054/2006) released on Friday, May 26:
UA 150/06 Incommunicado detention/Fear of death penalty/Fear of torture and ill-treatment
IRAN Sa’id ‘Awda al-Saki, Iranian national aged 35
Iranian Arab refugee Sa’id ‘Awda al-Saki was reportedly arrested in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on 11 May, apparently at the request of the Iranian authorities. He was reportedly forcibly returned to Iran three days later, and is now held incommunicado at an undisclosed place. Amnesty International fears he may be at risk of torture and ill-treatment, and of being sentenced to death.
He had been an activist with an Arab political group in the city of Ahvaz, capital of the mainly Arab province of Khuzestan, in the south-west of the country. He had reportedly fled Iran in 2000 or 2001, using false documentation, after four other activists from the same political group were arrested and executed. The authorities apparently wanted to question him in connection with his political activities, and he feared that he would also be executed like the other four.
Sa’id ‘Awda al-Saki had been recognised as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Damascus. He had been accepted for resettlement in Norway, and was scheduled to travel there on 25 May.
Eight other Iranian Arab activists were apparently arrested with him (see UA 123/06, MDE 24/037/2006). At least three have since been released, but the other five are believed to be still detained in Syria.
He was arrested by the Syrian authorities in November 2005, raising fears that he would be forcibly returned to Iran, but was later released.