The Ahwazi people, subjected to a media blackout imposed by the Iranian occupation regime, have faced a significant loss of life, with a staggering death toll that remains unreported by both human rights organizations and local/international media outlets.
The sharp increase in the number of fatalities can be attributed to various factors, including executions, extrajudicial killings, environmental disasters such as severe air pollution that has made Ahwaz the most polluted city in the world, alarmingly high unemployment rates pushing Ahwazi youth towards suicide, and numerous other contributing factors.
In the occupied Al-Ahwaz, the absence of hope instilled by the occupier and oppressive regime of Iran has led citizens to choose death over a life of suffering. The Iranian occupier regime’s systematic actions, such as preventing Ahwazi farmers from cultivating their lands for multiple seasons and suppressing Ahwazi individuals engaged in daily work, such as operating in free markets and stalls, alongside high unemployment rates among educated Ahwazi individuals due to racial discrimination policies and deliberate impoverishment of the Ahwazi people, have resulted in a significant rise in fatalities within the Ahwaz region.
Ahwazi citizens face a multitude of dangers, including being targeted by Iranian police’s live ammunition, arbitrary arrests pursuit leading to death, bites from animals like scorpions, prohibited police shootings, accidental falls into sewage canals, and numerous other reasons. Tragically, the targeted Ahwazi individuals lose their lives due to the sheer negligence of the Iranian occupier regime, which fails to promptly implement necessary preventive measures.
First: the killing of an Ahwazi fisherman by Iranian naval forces
As per local reports, Mehdi Maturi, a fisherman belonging to a local fishing vessel crew, was deliberately targeted and killed by the Iranian “Shatte AlArb” (Arvand Rud in Persian) naval forces. The sources reported that the Gulf vessel belonging to “Shatte AlArb” (Arvand Rud in Persian) Admiralty (No. 4) under the command of Hassan Mobini, on Monday, May 15th, 2023, without any warning, shot a fishing barge with live ammunition, and after stopping and inspecting it, no suspicious items were found in the fishing barge. Amidst the shooting incident, Mehdi Motauri suffered severe injuries inflicted by the fishing barge crew. However, the Iranian naval forces declined to transport him to a hospital, resulting in his unfortunate demise due to excessive bleeding and the delay in receiving timely medical attention.
A letter circulated on social media shed light on the incident, revealing contradictory statements made by the navy admiral involved. Initially, the navy admiral had reported the seizure and inspection of the barge, but following the news of the crew’s tragic death, he denied any involvement in such actions.
In a parallel event, another young Ahwazi individual was fatally shot and killed due to severe bleeding and the negligence of the Iranian regime. Falah Soleimani, a resident of Susa (Shush) city, was involved in farming activities outside the city to support his family. Tragically, while he was traveling to his farm on a motorcycle, an Iranian police officer shot him without any warning. Bleeding profusely, Falah fought for his life until he succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023.
Second: arbitrary arrests pursuit leading to the death of Esmail Kaabiand Mahir Haidari
On February 20, 2022, as shown in a video that was released, the security forces of the Iranian occupation regime cordoned off the residence of an Ahwazi citizen, Esmail Kaabi, a resident of “Goldasht” district of Ahwaz capital, with the intention to arrest him. Disturbingly, during broad daylight, Iranian security forces fired live ammunition at Esmail Kaabi, leaving him bleeding and without any access to medical care. This incident occurred without consideration for the presence of children, women, and elderly individuals in the vicinity, as the Iranian security forces employed live ammunition indiscriminately.
Similarly, in a parallel incident, Mahir Haidari, an Ahwazi citizen residing in the “Althurah” district of Ahwaz capital, fell victim to a direct shooting by Iranian security forces. As Mahir was driving back home On March 5th, 2021, he suddenly heard gunshots behind him without any prior warning. In an attempt to escape from the unidentified source of fire, Mahir was shot by the security forces and left to bleed for several hours until his untimely death. The Iranian occupation regime, in an attempt to deceive the public, dispatched an ambulance claiming to provide assistance to the injured, although their actions failed to meet the definition of genuine care.
Ahwazi detainees also fell victim to fatal torture at the hands of Iranian prison officers. In a specific case, an Ahwazi prisoner by the name of Ali Sawari was subjected to relentless torture until his untimely death on March 27, 2018. The video evidence reveals the horrifying treatment inflicted upon the Ahwazi prisoner, including brutal beatings to the head with a solid object, while he was serving his sentence in prison.
Third: Tragic incidents of children have lost their lives, either by falling into sewage canals or due to neglect in hospitals, including newborns.
ACHR has received a distressing report indicating that an Ahwazi newborn, who was delivered at the Imam Khomeini Hospital in Ahwaz capital, was subjected to an attack by a mole animal within the hospital premises. During their stay in the hospital’s postnatal section, an Ahwazi infant and their mother were subjected to an animal attack, resulting in facial wounds and injuries to the infant, as captured in a photograph.
Reliable sources in Al-Ahwaz have informed ACHR that hospitals are facing significant shortages of medical equipment and facilities. Moreover, reports suggest that hospitals are plagued with the presence of rodents, including mice and rats, posing a threat to the well-being of newborn babies and Ahwazi patients seeking medical care.
Furthermore, there is an alarming and escalating number of Ahwazi children falling into sewage canals, resulting in a distressing death toll. Despite the repeated occurrences of these tragic incidents, Iranian occupation regime officials have neglected their responsibility to repair the sewage canals or replace the sewage pits in the cities. As a tragic example, a two-year-old girl named Elahe Safihi from the city of Fallahiyeh (Shadegan) was discovered lifeless a day after she had fallen into a sewage canal.
Fourth: Ahwazi children dying in hospitals as a result of doctor’s ignorance
In August 1992, a scorpion bit a young Ahwazi girl named Maryam Sayahi, causing her health to rapidly deteriorate. In a desperate attempt to save her life, her father immediately rushed her to a nearby hospital. However, he was dismayed by the calmness and indifference displayed by the hospital staff, despite his daughter’s critical condition. Despite the father’s persistent pleas and begging for urgent action, the staff showed a lack of care. As time passed and the staff remained neglectful, the girl’s condition worsened to the point where she became motionless. When the staff finally realized the severity of the situation, they hurriedly ushered the father out of the room. Helplessly watching through a window, the father witnessed the staff using defibrillators in an attempt to revive his daughter. The incident received limited coverage by pro-Iranian regime media, but the family was threatened by the Iranian police, warning them not to disclose any further information that could lead to their arrest.
The story continued when the girl’s brother, Abdolrasoul Sayahi, was walking with his father near their home and suddenly heard gunshots. Fearing the indiscriminate firing of bullets by an Iranian police officer, young Abdolrasoul was struck in the spinal cord by one of the bullets. Losing consciousness, he regained awareness in the hospital, only to realize that he had permanently lost the ability to walk. Instead of providing reassurance and support to the boy and his family, the Iranian police officer threats of severe consequences if the family failed to surrender the bullet extracted from Abdolrasoul’s body. For a long time, Abdolrasoul has been confined to a wheelchair, while the police officer responsible for the crime faced no punishment and was simply transferred to another police station. The Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights has interviewed a relative of Maryam to prepare the report and is ready for establishing a connection if requested by official human rights organizations that support the Ahwazi cause.
The Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights vehemently denounces the atrocious acts committed by the Iranian occupation regime against the vulnerable Ahwazi people. The Centre urges UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Javeed Rehman to intervene, condemn, and put an end to the inhumane and barbaric crimes inflicted upon the Ahwazi people by the Iranian occupation regime.
The Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights