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Amnesty International

Iran: Further information on fear of torture and ill-treatment / incommunicado detention and new concern: Death Sentence

Amnesty International
December 27, 2006
Appeal/Urgent Action

AI Index: MDE 13/033/2006

Further Information on 233/05 (MDE 13/051/2005, 9 September 2005) and follow-up (MDE 13/065/2005, 2 November 2005)

IRAN Mohsen Bawi (m), aged 33 

Imad Bawi (m), law student, aged 31 

Zamel Bawi (m), aged 29 - brothers

Hani Bawi (m), student, aged 22 

Moslem Bawi (m), student, aged 19 

Asad Bawi (m), their cousin, aged 34

Mansour Tayouri (m) - members of the extended Bawi family

Hassan Boughedar (or Bou Azar or Bozar) (m)

New name: Lefteh Sarkhi (m), student

Six of the above named men were reportedly sentenced by a Revolutionary Court in Ahvaz City on 19 March 2006. They were reportedly accused of distributing material against the state, having contact with dissident organizations operating abroad, and endangering state security, possibly in connection with bomb explosions in Ahvaz city in Khuzestan province, south west Iran. According to reports, none of the men were allowed legal representation and the court sessions took place behind closed doors.

Zamel Bawi was reportedly sentenced to death, and he may be at risk of imminent execution. Amnesty International had received reports in October 2005 that he had been sentenced to death along with his brother Imad, and both brothers reportedly appeared in a Tehran court on 21 February 2006. No details of the hearing or the outcome were divulged, and Amnesty International has no further information about Imad Bawi.

New reports suggest that Hani Bawi was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment with a subsequent 10 years’ exile in Azerbaijan, northern Iran. Moslem Bawi was reportedly sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment with a subsequent 10 years’ exile in Arak, south of Tehran.

Mansour Tayouri, Hassan Boughedar (or Bou Azar or Bozar) and Lefteh Sarkhi were also reportedly sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment terms with subsequent exile to Northern provinces of Iran. Lefteh Sarkhi, a student at the Chamran University in Ahvaz in south west Iran, is reported to have been held since his arrest on 20 October. On 22 November 2005, Amnesty International wrote to the Iranian authorities and requested urgent clarification of his legal status and condition of health. No reply has been received.

The five Bawi brothers and their cousin Asad Bawi were reportedly arrested by security forces on 11 August 2005. Their family are prominent figures in the city of Ahvaz. Mohsen Bawi, the eldest of the brothers, is an IT consultant. Imad Bawi, a law student at the Lebanese University of Beirut was visiting his family in Ahvaz during the summer holiday when the Iranian authorities banned him from returning to Lebanon. Zamel Bawi is a businessman. Hani Bawi is studying commerce and trade at the University of Ahvaz. Moslem Bawi is also a student. Their cousin, Asad Bawi, a businessman, is also their brother-in-law, and lives in the family home in Ahvaz. Amnesty International has no further information about Asad Bawi or Mohsen Bawi.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan which borders Iraq. It is strategically important because it is the site of much of Iran’s oil reserves, but the Arab population does not feel it has benefited as much from the oil revenue as the Persian population. Historically, the Arab community has been marginalised and discriminated against. Tension has mounted among the Arab population since April 2005, after it was alleged that the government planned to disperse the country's Arab population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. Hundreds have been arrested and there have been reports of torture.

Following bomb explosions in Ahvaz City in June and October 2005, which killed at least 14 people, and explosions at oil installations in September and October, the cycle of violence has intensified, with hundreds of people reportedly arrested. Further bombings on 24 January 2006, in which at least six people were killed, were followed by further mass arrests. Two men, Mehdi Nawaseri and Ali Awdeh Afrawi, were executed in public on 2 March 2006 after being convicted of involvement in the October bombings. Their executions followed unfair trials before a Revolutionary Court during which they are believed to have been denied access to lawyers, and their confessions, along with those of six other men, were broadcast on television.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO ARRIVE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, IN PERSIAN, ARABIC, ENGLISH OR YOUR OWN LANGUAGE:

- stating that Amnesty International recognizes the rights and responsibilities of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but strongly opposes the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to life;

- urging that the death sentence imposed on Zamel Bawi be commuted immediately;

- seeking details of Zamel Bawi’s trial, including details of the charges against him and any appeals he may have made;

- expressing concern at reports that the six men (please name them) were not granted access to a lawyer during their trial and as such their trial did not meet international standards for fair trial, as laid down by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a State Party.

- calling for the nine men to be given immediate access to lawyers, their families, interpreters and medical treatment if necessary;

- seeking assurances that they are not being tortured or ill-treated in detention;

APPEALS TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader

Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: + 98 251 774 2228 (mark "FAO the Office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei")

Email: info@leader.irOR istiftaa@wilayah.org

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: irjpr@iranjudiciary.org (mark "Please forward to His Excellency Ayatollah Shahroudi") This email address can be unreliable. If it does not work, please send your appeal via the judiciary website: www.iranjudiciary.org/feedback_en.html

Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO:

President

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: + 98 21 6 649 5880

Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

(via website) http://www.president.ir/email

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 11 May 2006.