Mass execution perpetrated against Ahwaz people


According to reports from human rights activists in Ahwaz, the Iranian state committed a crime against humanity by executing 22 civil, political, cultural and religious campaigners in Ahwaz. The news came as a surprise and shock to the families of the victims since they have not been aware of the whereabouts of their loved ones. The executed prisoners had been arrested the next day after the Ahwaz parade attack on 22 September 2018. [1] Two days after the attack, an Iranian national tv channel sponsored by the state broadcasted footages of some of the detained individuals in a location which latter was confirmed by former prisoners to be the Intelligence detention centre in Ahwaz city. [2]

Following the 22 September parade attack, the security forces have begun a widespread arrest which took place in different towns, districts, and villages around Ahwaz. According to unconfirmed reports more than 1000 of civil society members, human rights defenders, and cultural and religious activists including women, children, and elderlies were held captives in undisclosed detention centres. The families of the detainees said the Intelligence Service took their children without disclosing any warrant arrest approved by the judiciaries. The families were not provided any information about their children’s confined locations and were unable to see or hear from them since the sweeping arrest has started.

In the report of Amnesty International on 2nd November 2018, it is confirmed that hundreds were arrested among the Ahwazi activists ‘as an excuse to lash out against members of the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority, including civil society and political activists, in order to crush dissent’ in Ahwaz region. According to Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, the scale of persecution and discrimination against Ahwazis suggests ‘these arrests are being carried out arbitrarily and are politically motivated.’ [3]

It is clear that Iranian state does not comply with its international obligations under universal human rights law concerned with protection and respect for the rights of non-Persian ethnic to enjoy cultural, religious and linguistic freedoms individually and collectively with members of their group. Apparently, the executions that was carried out recently violates multiple rights and freedoms under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in particular, the right to life under Article 6; freedom from torture under Article 7; the right to liberty and security of person under Article 9; the right to treatment with respect and dignity in detention centres under Article 10; the right to fair trial under Article 14; the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and opinion under Article 18 and 19 and the right to equality and protection without discrimination before the law under Article 26. [4]

This mass and arbitrary execution in Ahwaz cannot be justifiable under any circumstances by the Iranian regime. This kind of revenge act has no place among civilized nations and the perpetrators must be held accountable to international community since the Ahwazi victims belong to a defenceless ethnic group that has been mistreated and with cruelty by the Iranian state, in addition to facing with unimaginable discrimination and brutality in all aspects of their life in Iran for many years.


[1] BBC, ‘Iran military parade attacked by gunmen in Ahvaz’ (22 September 2018) <> accessed 26 September 2018.

[2] Iranian Student’ News Agency, ‘Identifying a team house and the arrest of 22 terrorists associated with Ahwaz incident’ (24 September 2018) <شناسایی–خانه–تیمی–و–دستگیری–۲۲–تروریست–مرتبط–با–حادثه–اهواز> accessed 26 September 2018.

[3] Amnesty International, ‘Iran: Hundreds arrested in vicious crackdown on Ahwazi Arabs’ (2 November 2018)

[4] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, GA Res 2200A (XXI), 16 December 1966.

By: Abdulrahman Hetteh, Ahwazi rights activist based in London





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