The family members of Ali Chebieshat and Sayed Khaled Mousawi, both members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority, were told on 18 March by prison officials that Ministry of Intelligence officials had transferred the men from the prison to an unknown location. They may be at imminent risk of execution given that two other Ahwazi Arab men were secretly executed in January 2014 after their transfer to an unknown location.
Ali Chebieshat and Sayed Khaled Mousawi were sentenced to death on 9 September 2013 by Branch Two of the Revolutionary Court in Ahvaz on the charge of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) in relation to the explosion of a natural gas pipeline close to their native village in Khuzestan. The court sentenced a third man, Salman Chayani, to 25 years’ imprisonment to be served in internal exile in Yazd, central Iran.
All three men had been arrested on 10 November 2012 along with a number of others and taken to a Ministry of Intelligence detention centre in Ahvaz. They were reportedly denied access to lawyers and their families for the first several months of their detention and are believed to have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated. They were shown “confessing” to their role in the explosion of the gas pipeline on an Iranian state television channel in June 2013, in violation of international standards for fair trials. They have appealed against their death sentences, which are still under consideration by the Supreme Court.
Urging the authorities not to execute Ali Chebieshat and Sayed Khaled Mousawi and to immediately disclose their whereabouts;
Urging them to investigate the allegations that the men were tortured or otherwise ill-treated and ensure that “confessions” obtained under torture are not used as evidence in court;
Calling on them to ensure the men are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, are granted any medical attention they may require and are allowed regular contact with their lawyers and families;
Reminding them that under international law, the death penalty may only be used for “the most serious crimes”, which international bodies have interpreted as being limited to crimes involving intentional killing.