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.

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 Poet Abbas Torfi Detained in Mashhad

Posted on: August 31st, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On Thursday, August 30, 2018, an Arab poet and activist was detained in Mashhad after attending a private poetry reading. Security forces produced no warrants at the time of his arrest.

HRANA verified the identity of the detainee as Abbas Torfi.

Torfi is actively involved in Arab poetry, culture, and literature. The reasons for his arrest remain unknown. No information is currently available regarding his whereabouts or conditions post-arrest.