Hungry for Justice: Ahwazis and the World’s Selective Humanity
According to Ahwazi rights groups, the exiled Ahwazi political prisoner Maher Kaabi (Zagheibi) began an indefinite hunger strike while imprisoned in the northern Iranian city of Ardabil. He started his hunger strike 8 days ago in protest of the prison officials’ action to transfer him from his political cell to a Criminal Crimes Division where dangerous prisoners are incarcerated.
Ahwazi credible sources have told Ahwaz Monitor that Maher Kaabi, who is serving his sixth year in Ardabil prison, began an open hunger strike in protest of the bad conditions of the facility and his recent transfer to the Criminal Crimes Division where he would be among prisoners convicted of serious crimes such as drug trafficking, murder, and armed robbery. Maher’s family fears that his health has deteriorated due to deliberate negligence by prison administration to meet his legal and humanitarian demands. They are asking institutions concerned with upholding human rights to intervening in ways that may save their son’s life.
Maher was arrested along with his brother Ahmed and seven of their friends by the Iranian regime intelligence of the Ahwaz on February 7, 2012, in the city of Shush – northern Ahwaz. Mäher, aged 19 at the time, was subjected to neglect and torture during three months spent in solitary confinement. Before his trial, Maher was held in Fajr prison in Dezful, where he was denied contact with his family for 9 months.
Maher was sentenced to 10 years in prison and exiled to the northern Iranian city of Ardabil in September 2012 on charges of belonging to the Arab struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, making propaganda against the Iranian regime through social media, spreading false news with the aim of distorting the image of the Iranian state at the international level, and inciting citizens to confront the Iranian regime.
It is noted that the revolutionary court of Shushtar city, headed by a notorious judge named Andy, has sentenced Maher and his fellow civil activists to 10 – 20 years imprisonment and exile. Their names are as follows:
1- Hassan Nasseri: sentenced to 20 years in prison and exiled to Sabzawar city prison
2- Ahmad Dabbat: Sentenced to 20 years in prison and exiled to Rasht city prison
3- Ali Kanani: sentenced to 20 years in prison and exiled to Sari city prison
4- Abbas Sagouri Khasraji: Sentenced to 15 years in prison and exiled to Hamadan city prison
5- Ahmad Kaabi (Zagheibi): Sentenced to 15 years in prison and exiled to Kerman city prison
6- Jafar Kaabi: sentenced to 15 years in prison and exiled to Yazd city prison
7- Sajjad Bait-Abdallah: Sentenced to 10 years in prison and exiled to Gorgan city prison
8- Yousef Khasraji: Sentenced to 10 years in prison and exiled to Shiraz city prison
The majority of Ahwazi rights groups say that Ahwazi prisoners chronically are deprived of access to legal representation. Due to the fact that many of these prisoners are unable to afford legal costs, their destiny is in the hands of the intelligent service. Additionally, most Iranian human right groups are located far away from Ahwazi prisons and their news is rarely recognised by international human right organisations. This is due in part to the lack of access to the prisoners’ families but also due to the lack of attention paid by Iranian human rights groups. Many of those human rights organisations have been established abroad are unfortunately influenced by a Persian racist mentality which seeks to diminish the Ahwazi struggle and label them all as separatists or terrorists.
Due to the intense security environment in Ahwaz, where prisoners’ families are under constant threat and media outlets are highly censored, there is a presumption by many Rights advocates that the situation in Ahwaz is relatively stable due to the media blackout of regime violations. The core attention of the majority of Iranian rights groups has broadly been devoted to spotlighting the violations that are committed against persons that live in Tehran capital and central Persian regions. These organisations in their written goals claim that they are seeking democracy, civil freedom and putting an end to racial oppression and discriminations but such stated objects have never been put into actions when they deal with the human rights issues linked to Ahwazi Arabs as well as other ethnic groups. Sadly, when it comes to the issue of prisoners in the Iranian capital and other Persian regions, these so-called Iranian human rights organisations in many cases present their reports on guesses and predictions rather than real facts.
We can see that if a pro-Reformist Iranian activist based in Tehran is detained or summoned to the Intelligence service for interrogation, all the Iranian rights organisations start issuing several statements demanding swift actions to be taken by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. Their campaigns are generally given constant media coverage until the situation of that person is improved. One example of this is Nasrin Sotoudeh, the pro-Reformist Iranian female civil activist.
The number of actions, letters, and statements issued for Nasrin by Iranian rights organisations cannot be compared with the number of the statements issued for Ahwazi political prisoners at the verge of execution.