NCRI – The following is an urgent appeal by the British based human rights group, Amnesty International, raising concern over the plight of children arrested during a demonstration in the southern city of Ahvaz, capital of the oil rich province of Khuzistan:
UA 24/06 Fear of torture and ill-treatment/ incommunicado detention
IRAN Reza Haidari (m), aged 11
Kazem Sayahi (m), aged 14
Hashem Jassem Sawari (m), aged 18
Hadi Washahi (m), aged 17
Said Manabi (m), aged 20
Saleh ‘Abidawi (m), imam
Sheikh Saleh al-Haydari (m), imam of Da’ira mosque
and scores of others
The seven people named above and scores of others, all members of Iran’s Arab minority, were reportedly arrested in the city of Ahvaz in Khuzestan province on 11 and 12 January. They may be held incommunicado and are at risk of torture or ill-treatment.
The arrests took place after clashes in Ahvaz between Iranian security forces and members of the Arab Ahwazi community. The clashes followed an initially peaceful demonstration which took place on the Muslim festival of ‘Id al-Adha on 11 January, led by Sheikh Saleh al-Haydari, imam (prayer leader) of Da’ira mosque in Ahvaz. Demonstrators were reportedly demanding an end to the persecution of Arabs, poverty and unemployment among Arabs, and the release of political prisoners arrested following unrest in Khuzestan province which began in April 2005. The next day, scores more arrests followed in the city of Hamidiya, after a demonstration against the arrests which had taken place on ‘Id al-Adha, the previous day. According to reports, at least three men were killed during the clashes between 11 and 12 January by the security forces in the Khuzestan region and around 40 others wounded.
According to press reports, Sheikh Saleh al-Haydari has been on hunger strike since 25 January in protest at his detention. The authorities have reportedly accused him of threatening national security. Another imam, Saleh ‘Abidawi, and three boys under the age of 18 are also among those believed to be in detention.