Flagrant Violations Of Ahwazi Prisoners And Fabrication Of Charges As Justifications For Their Incarceration
By Rahim Hamid
18 March, 2015
Two distinguished Ahwazi former prisoners named “Ramadan Nasseri” and “Mohammed Hattab Zaheri Sari” in their interviews with human rights organizations and Arab Media agencies revealed flagrant human rights violations that the Iranian occupying government has exercised against Ahwazi Arab prisoners in Al-Ahwaz.
They revealed how the Ahwazi prisoners are subjected to arbitrary brutal arrest after being abducted and taken to secret detention centers which are heavily guarded. At this station, the interrogators in the secret detention facilities use threats and violence during interrogations in order to extract confessions or gain practical modifiable information that can be applied against the prisoners to convict them to the death penalty or to issue long prison sentences against them.
The two prisoners in their interview recounted that causing severe mental exhaustion for prisoners during questioning is most pervasive technique employed by the Intelligence service interrogators to force the Ahwazi prisoner to produce confessions of crimes which he/she did not commit.
Also, the Ahwazi prisoners often are coerced into confessions after the threat that their family members will be arrested or imprisoned, as this menace often has a profound effect on the spirit of the prisoner, leading him or her to succumb to the fabricated charges that the person is being charge with in order to protect their families from any risks of the sort.
In the case of rejecting the accusations, the Ahwazi prisoners will have to endure brutal physical torture and if it is ineffective, psychological torture begins, which frequently leaves a deep impact on the Ahwazi prisoners and always drives them to harsh sentences or the gallows. During mental torture, the prisoner is deprived of sleep, for a period that often lasts a week or ten days.
The prisoner is detained in a narrow cell, the length of which is estimated at two and half meters by one and a half meters, the cell’s walls are painted with a mysterious and sharp red color. At this station, the prisoners hear voices such as crying women and screams of children and horrific sounds of different animals.
Until this moment, the Ahwazi prisoners who were released still do not know if these voices and sounds are real or if they have been set by the intelligence services in order to influence them, or if they have been infected with illusions because of psychological pressure and their extended terms of incommunicado detention which may last for years.
During the interrogation, Ahwazi prisoners are forced to write all of their daily lives from childhood to the details of their period of captivity. They are compelled to write everything they know, even if it has no link to political and security issues.
This method is used in order to wear down the captive physically and physiologically and destroy his spirits and place excessive pressure on him.
The intelligence service also uses open and long discussions with the Ahwazi prisoner as a technique in order to gain more information and to identify prisoner’s orientations and directions. The content of these talks are then manipulated and used for the purposes of the occupation. The detainee is labelled as dangerous, on the basis of fabricated and ill-defined charges such as posing potential threat to the national security, waging war against God, spreading propaganda against the regime, causing corruption on earth and so forth, in an alleged attempt to criminalize Ahwazi prisoners.
The efforts behind flinging out these charges against Ahwazi prisoners after filming and documenting prisoners’ coerced confessions is to orchestrate a scenario of self-incrimination of prisoners as testimonial evidence that more possibly implicates and incriminates the prisoner, providing a justification for his execution.
Example of the forced confessions televised (also with English subtitles, by Iranian state TV) of the prisoners so as to convince the general public that they are guilty and deserve execution. In this case, the prisoner is praising the Secret Service agents who arrested him.
In this case, Ramadan Nasseri, the former Ahwazi prisoner who was sentenced to thirty years in prison and who recently escaped from prison, says he was kidnapped outside his home by eight intelligence agents without their showing any arrest warrant.
He recounts how he was blindfolded and handcuffed and was taken to an unknown place and then went to a narrow and suffocating cell where was interrogated abruptly in an arbitrary way for many hours without being given the opportunity to take a break. He was also prevented from drinking water and eating.
He says that during all of his time in solitary confinement his hands were bound by handcuffs and his feet were shackled by chains. He could not walk or sit as he had undergone long periods of interrogation.
The intelligence services torturers exercised extreme physical torture against him, as he said on many occasions, he was beaten by electrical cables and shocked, making him become unconscious when this situation occurred many times.
He added that he was tortured psychologically when he was kept in a narrow cell painted with shocking colors and unclear graffiti, which bothered his nerves extremely as well as being subjected to the sound of constant disturbing voices, sounds and radio signals that came to him from unknown directions.
Besides severe mental and physiological torture endured in the cell, he was convicted for thirty years in prison based on the coerced confessions in biased trial proceedings that fell far short of international standards.
Regarding his unfair conviction, as he was even banned from having access to lawyer, he said that he was tried by an intolerant and an infamous judge named Mohammadi who chaired the primary branch of the revolution Court in Ahwaz.
He said the judge within ten minutes firstly read aloud the charges against him quickly and after that asked if he wished to defend himself.
Ramadan believes that as the judicial system of theIranian occupation is thoroughly corrupt and deeply intolerant toward Ahwazi prisoners, his prison conviction was already issued before his trial and before hearing his words.
The outcome of his trial was a heavy imprisonment sentence plus the exile to “Eghlid”, the notorious prison in the Fars Province.
Ramadan claimed the aim of his banishment to far-distant Persian regions outside Al-Ahwaz was to deprive him and his family from visiting each other.
He says that his wife, alongside their children, had to travel long distances to visit him in the prison as his wife was not able to afford the travel expenses regularly because she was struggling just to sustain her children’s lives and fulfill their basic needs, this situation resulted in more suffering as it inflicted damaging psychological effects. Ramadan said that the legacy of torture is still on his body and he is suffering from harsh pain owed to rupturing in his two knee joints as a result of torture.
Ahwazi reveals another prisoner named “Mohammed Hattab Zaheri Sari”, who recently escaped from prison, saying he was a political, cultural and religious activist while he used to live in Ahwaz.
He asserts he also had an active part in the popular uprising in Ahwaz in April 2005, which covered the majority areas in Al-Ahwaz. He continued his activism even after the uprising in Ahwaz, which caused him to suffer persecution when the Iranian authorities arrested him on 29 July 2007.
He reports that he had spent two months under severe torture in the intelligence service secret detention. The Iranian intelligence agencies decided to transfer him to "Sepidar" prison after the investigation of his political activity.
In addition, the Iranian revolutionary court in Ahwaz (Branch four, by the judge Mr. Torki) sent him to five years imprisonment on 02/19/2008 on the charge of conspiring against Iran's national security.
He says that after two and half years in the prison, was released by the "conditional release" law. He says despite all the barriers and risks, he pursued his activity after getting released from prison, so the Iranian intelligence services who put him under surveillance once again arrested him on 4 May 2011 on the Iran-Turkey border (Sarv border) when he tried to get out legally from Iran.
Then he was transferred to the city of Ahwaz, where spent 45 days in secret detention which belongs to the Iranian intelligence services, under severe torture and other ill-treatment.
He said he was tortured by various methods as on one occasion, he reports being severely beaten with belt on his back when he was laid on an iron bed and his hands and his feet were tied from two sides with manacles; on another, he described brutally being lashed, kicked, slapped on his ears that resulted in partial loss of hearing in his left ear, hung upside-down and beaten on the soles of his feet with cables, given electric shocks, hearing voices like crying and weeping and screaming men and women. After that, the services transferred him to the Fajr prison in the city of Quneitra (Dezful), about 160 kilometers north of Ahwaz city.
He was released from the prison after spending several months on bail of one Iranian billion rials (about 30,000 US dollars) on 30-11-2011 by the judge Mr. Morteza Kiasati, who is one of the nine Iranian judges whose name is on the list of European sanctions against the Iranian state as a human rights violator.
Mohammad continued saying: “since I have been released and I'm continually suffering from harassment and threats of the Iranian intelligence services, as they call my phone every month to threaten me to face a new trial and prison if they think that I am still active.
And also every April, which coincides with the anniversary of the popular uprising in Al-Ahwaz, the Iranian intelligence services in the city of Ahwaz forced me to come to their office for questioning and investigation, and to sign a document that kept me under house arrest, not allowing me to leave my home without getting permission from the intelligence services.
The intelligence services were also forced me to come to their office if any of my friends were arrested by them, just to answer their questions as to if I have regular contact with him or not.
Finally, this situation forced me to leave my homeland to protect my life from another arrest, torture, and imprisonment.”
To the question about the prison condition, Mohammad said that the section of prison where he was held was notable to accommodate more than one hundred and twenty prisoners, but the prisoners in this section were more than four hundred and eighty people. The section’s cells are cramped and overcrowded and one cannot find a place to sleep.
He added that the judges in the Persian courts do not abide by and respect the principle of neutrality and the principle of innocent until proven guilty, but they are acting as the prosecutors who are directing the charges and demanding the most severe penalties against Ahwazi prisoners and after the issuance of unfair sentences against Arab prisoners, the occupying Persian authorities begin to transfer the convicted prisoners to various notorious prisons such as Sepidar and Karoon Prison and also other prisons outside Al-Ahwaz.
In these prisons, Ahwazi prisoners are often banned from visiting their parents and their other relatives, although the right of prisoners to visit their family members is enshrined in Iranian law, also the prisoners are prevented from the acquisition of book and newspapers, even though they are in the Persian language. This situation causes the spread of frustration, stress and depression among Ahwazi prisoners.
In reference to health and the sanitary condition of prisons, he said health care in overcrowded prisons is almost non-existent. The contagious skin disease run rampant among Ahwazi prisoners due to their infection with parasitic insects like lice as well as pulmonary and TB diseases because of dirty water and lack of air-conditioning systems. This is because of the deliberate neglect of the prison authorities who refuse to provide the required facilities such as clean water for drinking and washing, air-conditioning systems, and the necessary medical treatment of prisoners. Such systematic inhuman denial of basic human rights is adopted in order to punish the Ahwazi prisoners indirectly.
The Iranian occupation state tries to distribute the arrested Ahwazi political activists among the prisons and in sections that have nothing to do with political issues, especially throwing them into sections of prisoners accused of possession of narcotic drugs,larceny and murder offences for the reason of ruining the morale of the political prisoners and at the same time to tell the world that there are no political prisoners in Ahwaz. Add to that, they exile the Ahwazi Arab political prisoners to remote areas far away from Ahwaz in the Persian regions as a common physiological punishment so that their families can't visit and meet them, which something that the regime always does to Ahwazi families.
Rahim Hamid is Ahwazi human rights activist
Comments are moderated