Iran: Four Ahwazi Human Rights Activists Arrested for Organising Arabic Cultural Activities
Five Arab teachers have been arrested in the city of Hamidiya Arabistan Al Ahwazi. Ali Qasim, Mohammed Jasim, Kadim Saadoun and Tariq Manshad have been arrested on Friday 4 October and charged with acting against national security and illegal gatherings.
They were arrested after a raid on their homes by the security forces and transferred to Sepidar Quds prison in Ahwaz. No judicial warrant was presented during their arrest. Human rights sources told EAHRO that their activities were limited to cultural ones such as organizing Arabic poetry and music ceremonies as well as planning activities for upcoming Islamic Eid Aladha Festival on 6 November 2011.
Ahwazi Arabs, who number more than 10 million, live in poverty and are suffering from South Africa style apartheid segregation and racism since 1925. Al Ahwaz region holds %15 of oil resources and second gas reserve in the world. Iran denies the existence of Ahwazi Arabs by calling them "Khuzestani Arabic speakers" aiming to eliminate their Arabic identity which they are proud of. Ahwazi Arabs have been denied education in their mother tongue, access to media, subjected to land confiscation, strict employment criteria and practising their social and cultural activities are banned and heavily suppressed.