Update: Arrests and Detainments as of November 14, 2018

Posted on: November 14th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Local sources have recently reported the violent arrests of two ethnic-minority cultural activists. Their stories are below.

Azerbaijani Activist Violently Arrested by Security Forces in Ardabil

Ardabil security forces assaulted and arrested Azerbaijani activist Habib Sassanian November 8th, releasing him one hour later on bail. His court hearing was scheduled to take place on November 10th.

According to a close source, security forces showed up at the home of one of Sassanian’s relatives, laying into him immediately and arresting him without a warrant. Photos of Sassanian’s wounded face were provided to HRANA, and a close source affirmed that his face, right eye, and scalp were left swollen.

Sassasian spent 16 months in Tabriz Central Prison after an August 2017 arrest before going free on a 3.5 billion IRR bail [approximately $83,000 USD]. He was also among a group of Azerbaijani activists arrested in Ardabil May 15, 2016, dubbed the “six-man Gamo spy gang” by the Chief Justice of East Azerbaijan Province in June 2017. They were charged with forming, participating in, and providing guidance to the Azerbaijani political group “Gamo,” as well as “spying for foreign countries” and “leaking confidential IRGC information to foreign countries.”

Ardabil is a city in northwest Iran, home to Iran’s Azerbaijani ethnic minority.

Authorities Assault the Parents of Ahwazi Arab Arrestee

Ahwazi Arab cultural activist Yousef Savari, of Dasht-e Azadegan County in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan Province, was arrested by security forces and taken to an undisclosed location on November 8th. Security forces reportedly assaulted his parents at the time of his arrest.

A local source told HRANA that IRGC intelligence agents stormed the Savari family home in the morning of November 8th, beating 76-year-old Mehdi Savari and 65-year-old Nasimeh Savari before taking their son Yousef into custody.

Recording with their cell phones, the intelligence agents then coerced Savari’s parents to make incriminating statements about their son Isa Savari, who currently works for a television station in Holland.

No information is currently available on Yousef Savari’s whereabouts or the reasons behind his arrest.

Hundreds of Ahwazi Arab activists have been arrested and detained since the September 22nd armed attack on an Ahvaz military parade that killed and injured dozens of civilians.

Khuzestan Province, located on Iran’s southwest border with Iraq, is home to Iran’s Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority.

Khuzestan : Ten Detainees Identified, Four Released

Posted on: November 8th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Pursuant to the September 22nd armed attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, hundreds of Khuzestani Arabs in Ahvaz, Susangerd, and Hamidiyeh were taken by security officers to undisclosed locations. After recently identifying 179 of these detainees, HRANA has learned the names of ten more, along with the identities of four who have been released pending court proceedings.

The ten recently-identified detainees, still in custody, are below:

1. Karim Saedi, 31, married with two children, Hamidiyeh resident, arrested on November 3, 2018
2. Adil Mashali, 30, married with two children, Hamidiyeh resident, arrested on November 3, 2018
3. Mohammad Hazbawi, son of Mahdi, married, Ahvaz resident
4. Sadegh Lazemi (Jalali), 32, married with two daughters, Susangerd resident
5. Morteza Sharhani, 28, resident of Alavi neighborhood of Ahvaz, arrested November 4, 2018
6. Amin Zaheri Sari, 22, resident of Alavi neighborhood of Ahvaz, arrested November 5, 2018
7. Hotab Zaheri Sari, 57, resident of Alavi neighborhood of Ahvaz, arrested November 5, 2018
8. Ameneh Zaheri Sari, 24, graduate of the accounting program at Azad University of Ahvaz, resident of Alavi neighborhood of Ahvaz, arrested November 6, 2018
9. Saleh Tamuli Torfi (Munabi), resident of Alavi neighborhood of Ahvaz, arrested November 6, 2018
10. Abdullah Childawi, resident of Alavi neighborhood of Ahvaz, arrested November 6, 2018

Hotab Zaheri Sari is reportedly in need of medical treatment for gastrointestinal and disc diseases. As of the date of this report, no further information is available on their whereabouts or well-being.

Over the past few days, local sources reported the bail release of jailed Ahvaz residents Saeed Mohammad Saidawi, Sajjad Saylawi, Zawdiyya Afrawi, and Qaysiyya Afrawi. The four await further notification from Ahvaz Revolutionary Court.

Arrest Sweep Continues: Ten More Go Dark In Khuzestan

Posted on: November 2nd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Ten more Ahwazi Arab residents of Susangerd and Shush have been caught in an arrest sweep targeting civilians and activists alike in Iran’s southwest.

A September 22nd armed attack on an Ahvaz military parade is presumed to be the pretext for unexplained, unrelenting arrests in the region since that date. In its ongoing coverage of the arrest sweep, HRANA recently published the names of 169 detainees, reportedly only a fraction of those who have already been taken.

In the past few days, security forces have added to that list, sequestering a number of citizens in locations as yet undisclosed.

The ten most arrestees have been identified as follows:

1. Jasim Ghanemi Soveidi, age 27, married father of two, resident of Hajieh Village of Susangerd County
2. Halim Sawari, age 46, father of two, resident of Susangerd County
3. Aghil Sawari, age 20, resident of Susangerd County
4. Reza Sawari, age 17, resident of Susangerd County
5. Hanash Badawi, age 47, resident of Beyt Ahmad Almola Village of Shush County
6. Ayoub Morid, age 28, resident of Beyt Ahmad Almola Village of Shush County
7. Hassan Ismaeli, age 32, resident of Beyt Ahmad Almola Village of Shush County
8. Amir Badawi, age 45, resident of Beyt Ahmad Almola Village of Shush County
9. Mahdi Soveidi, resident of Hajieh Village of Susangerd
10. Hadi Rufe, age 25, resident of Beyt Ahmad Almola Village of Shush County

As of the date of this report, no further information is available on these citizens’ locations or the charges against them.

Wave of Arrests Continues in Khuzestan Province

Posted on: October 31st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Over the past few days, more Ahwazi Arab citizens in the cities of Ahvaz, Hamidiyeh, and Shush were arrested by security forces and transferred to undisclosed locations.

They are presumed to have been swept up in an ongoing arrest campaign initiated by authorities after the September 22nd shooting on a military parade in Ahvaz.

In its ongoing coverage of the arrest sweep through Khuzestan province, HRANA previously published reports listing the identities of 130 detainees.

The most recent arrestees have been identified as follows:

1. Yusef Marvaneh, age 18, resident of Molashiyeh, Ahvaz
2. Abdullah Hayati, resident of Seyed Khalaf, Ahvaz, arrested October 27th
3. Nader Hayati, resident of Seyed Khalaf, Ahvaz, arrested October 27th
4. Mustafa Basiri, resident of Kian Abad, Ahvaz, arrested October 27th
5. Kazim Sayahi, resident of Hamidiyeh County, arrested October 27th
6. Mansour Askari, resident of Koye Alawi, Ahvaz city, arrested October 27th
7. Yahya Abidawi, age 28, resident of Hamidiyeh County
8. Qasim Abidawi, age 26, resident of Hamidiyeh County
9. Adel Zabi, resident of Koye Alawi, Ahvaz
10. Aref Abiat, resident of Koye Alavi, Ahvaz
11. Nader Sharifi, age 50, resident of Mollashieh, Ahvaz, arrested October 29th
12. Najm Haydari, age 30, resident of Koye Alawi of Ahvaz city, arrested October 28th
13. Rassoul Chaldawi, age 27, resident of Koye Alawi, Ahvaz, arrested October 28th
14. Seyed Fahd Alawi, age 24, resident of Shush County
16. Abdul Hamid Kanani, age 25, resident of Shush County
16. Amin Soleymani, age 27, resident of Shush County
17. Mohammad Abidawi, age 26, resident of Shush County
18. Valid Hayavi, age 28, resident of Shush County
19. Hassan Barsim (Kanani), age 24, resident of Shush County

As of the date of this report, no further information is available on these arrestees’ locations or the charges against them.

Another Ahwazi Arab Citizen Arrested

Posted on: October 21st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) –On Friday, October 19th, local Intelligence agents arrested Ahwazi Arab citizen Qais Ghazi, 33, transferring him to an undisclosed location.

Describing Ghazi as an advocate for peaceful methods of protest, an informed source speculated to HRANA that he was being arrested under a flimsy guise of counterterrorism that authorities have used liberally since the September 22nd attack on an Ahvaz military parade.

“It seems that after arresting hundreds of Ahwazi Arab activists, the security apparatus is now targeting independent civil rights activists,” the source said. “This is despite the government’s announcement that Daesh [ISIS] claimed responsibility for the [parade attack]. They are using it as an excuse to crack down on Ahwazi Arab civil and cultural activists and intellectuals.”

At the time of this report, no further information was available on Ghazi’s whereabouts or the reasons behind his arrest.

On October 17, 2018, for reasons unknown, Ahwazi Arab citizens Sajjad Silavi and Seyed Sadegh Nazari were also arrested by intelligence agents before being transferred to an undisclosed location.

Since the Ahvaz parade tragedy, dozens of Ahwazi Arab citizens across Khuzestan province have been arrested and transferred to unknown locations. In recent reports, HRANA has covered the steady stream of arrests being reported by locals in the region.

Despite the urgency to hold the assailants accountable for wounding and killing civilians, including women and children, Iran’s security establishment is marred by a history of questionable investigative methods, raising public concern that innocent scapegoats may be subject to torturous interrogations and impugned for the attacks.

Ahvaz is the capital of Khuzestan province, located in Iran’s southwest.

Ahwazi Arab Arrests Continue in Environs of Ahvaz Parade Attack

Posted on: October 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) – Eight more Ahwazi Arab citizens, including two women, join the ranks of 55 locals already scooped up by authorities in a haphazard arrest campaign, purportedly an element of investigation into an armed attack on an Ahvaz military parade that claimed the lives of several civilians on September 22nd.

On October 15th, in the villages surrounding Susangerd, forces from the IRGC Intelligence Department arrested eight Ahwazi Arab Sunni citizens identified by HRANA as follows: Fayez Afravi, 30, married with one child; Afravi’s 45-year-old mother; Mohammad Amin Afravi, married, together with his 37-year-old mother; Abbas Moghinami, 26, married; Morteza Beyt Sheikh Ahmad, 24; Aref Moghinami, 27; and Morteza Moghinami, 22.

Fayez and Mohammad Amin Afravi are residents of Albu Afri village in Susangerd, a source told HRANA. Abbas Moghinami owns a tailor shop in the nearby village of Hojjie that specializes in Arabic garments known as thawbs or dishdashas, and where Morteza Beyt Sheikh Ahmad and Morteza Moghinami are currently employed. All three were arrested while leaving the shop with Aref Moghinami.

Susangerd is located in Dasht-e Azadegan County, Khuzestan Province.

HRANA identified 55 prior arrestees in its recent reports.

Twenty-four civilians, including a four-year-old child, were killed in the September 22nd gun attack on Ahvaz; fifty-seven more sustained injuries. The four assailants were apprehended and killed.

Following the attack, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence announced that it had 22 suspects in custody, backing their announcement with a video recording of blindfolded, unidentified detainees facing a wall. Local sources estimate that detainees number closer to 300, and hail mostly from the cities of Ahvaz, Khorramshahr, Susangerd, and Abadan. Most of the arrestees have a previous track record with police.

As authorities work to confirm which body or group may have masterminded the attack, public urgency to find closure is tinged with the concern that innocent arrestees will be subject to inhumane interrogation methods.

Iran: Parade Attack Continues to Drive Ahwazi Arab Arrests

Posted on: October 19th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Authorities continue to arrest Ahwazi Arab citizens in connection to the attack on an Ahvaz military parade that shook the country on September 22nd.

Two more Ahwazi Arab arrestees — identified by HRANA as Mohammad Mohammadi (Abyat), 22, and Ghassem Kabavi (Kabi), 24 — join the 53 who had already been detained as of October 15th.

Ministry of Intelligence agents in Hamidiyeh County transferred Mohammadi and Kabavi to an undisclosed location after arresting them on October 16th.

The day of the attack, a military parade in Ahvaz commemorating the Iran-Iraq war was interrupted by a sudden spray of gunfire on soldiers and spectators. That day, more than 20 civilians were killed, including a four-year-old child, and 57 more were wounded. All four of the gunmen have reportedly been killed.

While Iranian news media is abuzz with speculation over which group might have ordered the attack, authorities’ investigations have thus far been inconclusive. Four days after the attack, the Ministry of Intelligence announced that it had 22 suspects in custody, backing its announcement with a video recording of blindfolded, unidentified detainees facing a wall. Unofficial sources have countered this report, estimating the tally of those detaineth far to be closer to 300. The majority of the arrests have taken place in the cities of Ahvaz, Khorramshahr, Hamidiyeh, Susangerd, and Abadan, all located in the Khuzestan province.

Many of the recent arrestees have a previous track record with police, and the continued arrest campaign — led by a security establishment known for its questionable investigative methods — has done little to assuage public concern that authorities will force confessions from innocent prior offenders.

Hamidiyeh is a city and capital of Hamidiyeh District, in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province.

Amid Parade Attack Investigations, Ahvaz Authorities Arrest More Citizens

Posted on: October 15th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Dozens of citizens were rounded up October 13th and 15th in the Malashieh and Kouy-e Alavi neighborhoods of Ahvaz, the capital of southwestern border province of Khuzestan now known as the site of a violent shooting on a military parade on September 22nd of this year.

HRANA has identified nine more Ahwazi Arab arrestees, who join the 44 already arrested as of September 27th: Mohammad Omuri, 26, Naim Heydari, 24, Aref Ghazalavi, Kazem Ghazalavi, Ali al-Hay (Hayyai), Shakir Savari, Shakir Savari, and Fadhil Shemousi, arrested Saturday, and Jassim Croshat, 45, a mechanic from Kouye Alavi in Ahvaz, who was arrested Monday, October 15th.

Forty-four Ahwazi Detainees Identified in Wake of Parade Attack

Posted on: October 13th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Since last month’s attack on an Ahvaz military parade, dozens of Ahwazi Arab citizens of Iran have been rounded up, arrested, and transferred to unknown locations in the Khuzestan province.

Public urgency to find those responsible for the attack — which claimed the lives of several civilians, including women and children — is matched only by mounting concern that Iran’s security establishment, with its history of questionable investigation methods, might be searching too aggressively for a scapegoat.

HRANA has identified 44 of the arrestees detained near Ahvaz in recent weeks: 1. Jamil Heidari, 33, 2. Majed Heidari, 25, 3. Ahmad Hamari, 29, 4. Seyed Jasem Rahmani (Mousavi), 33, 5. Majed Chaldavi, 6. Seyed Hamood Rahmani (Mousavi), 7. Ali Savari, 23, 8. Hatam Savari, 9. Adnan Savari, 10. Hossein Heidari, 11. Ahmad Bavi, 12. Abdolrahman Khosraji, 32, 13. Mahdi Saedi, 27, 14. Javad Badvi, 26, 15. Riaz Zahiri, 16. Zamel Heidari, 17. Mahdi Kooti, 18. Ali Kooti, 19. Sattar Kooti, 20. Ali Mansouri, 21. Mohammad Momen Timas, 55, 22. Ahmad Timas, 28, 26. Osama Timas, 26, 24. Adel Afravi, 25. Mohammad Savari, 26. Mokhtar Masoudi, 27. Abdollah Silavi, 28. Khaled Silavi, 29. Ali Albaji, 30. Maher Masoudi, 31. Javad Hashemi, 32. Yousef Khosraji, 33. Abbas Badvi, 34. Mohsen Badvi, 35. Hassan Ben Ali, 36. Jador Afravi, 37. Milad Afravi, 38. Ali Albaji, 39. Mohammad Masoudi, 40. Alireza Deris, 41. Adel Zahiri, 42. Adel Afravi, 43. Ahmad Heidari, 44. Fahad Neisi

The attack in question was a violent interruption to a military parade in Ahvaz on September 22nd, commemorating the Iran-Iraq war. Mid-ceremony, gunmen suddenly opened fire on soldiers and spectators alike.

Mojtaba Zolnour, member of the Iranian parliamentary committee for national security and foreign affairs, announced 29 deaths and 57 wounded. Several civilians, including a 4-year-old child, figured on the list of victims released by state-run news agencies.

It has yet to be determined which group is responsible for the attack, and on Iranian airwaves, theories abound. Not long after the attack took place, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence released a video recording of blindfolded, unidentified detainees facing a wall, accompanied with the announcement that the Ministry had 22 suspects in custody.

Local sources have countered the Ministry’s report, estimating the tally of those detained so far to be closer to 300. The majority of these arrests have taken place in the cities of Ahvaz, Khorramshahr, Susangerd, and Abadan, all located in Khuzestan province.

Security measures now loom large over the Arab-majority neighborhoods south of Khuzestan, local sources say, while the families of those detained have been unable to obtain any indication from authorities on the status or location of their loved ones.

Previously, Iranian Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi made the public claim that “the terrorists who opened fire on the crowd have been killed,” adding, “Every single person behind the attack […] will be identified, and the majority of them have already been apprehended.”

Many of the arrestees have a previous track record with police, reinforcing public speculation that security forces are applying the timeworn approach of haranguing past offenders into culpability, current or relevant evidence be damned.

Ahwazi Arab Protestors Arrested in Oil-Rich Khuzestan Province

Posted on: September 24th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- Several Ahwazi Arab residents of Susangerd, Dasht-e Azadegan (in the province of Khuzestan, southwestern Iran) were detained by security forces and transferred to an unknown location on September 19, 2018 after reportedly chanting protests during a Shiite religious ceremony.

An informed source told HRANA that security forces responded to a number of protesters who were chanting slogans against the regime’s policies and economic failures during local mourning ceremonies in observance of Muharram. Two of the arrested individuals have been identified as Ahma Sovidi and Fayez Afravi. The identities of their comrades have yet to be confirmed.

According to HRANA’s annual report, between March 2017 and March 2018, 6883 people were arrested in Iran for political reasons or for expressing their beliefs. 1281 of these were individual arrests (i.e. independent of coordinated raids or the crackdown of unified protests).

These include 66 media users, 14 environmental activists, 222 adherents to religious minorities (in addition to the Dervishes arrested during the Tehran Golestan Haftom incident in February 2017), 114 women’s rights activists, and 60 workers and labour activists.