Update: Arrests and Detainments as of November 14, 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.