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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 05 Ahwazi Arab men at risk of execution
UA 061/19
Abgeschlossen am 8. August 2019
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27.06.2019 Appeal deadline extension

We are extending the appeal deadline for Abdullah Karmollah Chab and Ghassem Abdullah till 8 August 2019.

We need to maintain a global and urgent mobilization on this case, as the two men remain on death row.

Thank you for your continued support.

Ahwazi Arab men at risk of execution

AI-Index: MDE 13/0321/2019

Abdullah Karmollah Chab and Ghassem Abdullah, from Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority, are facing the death penalty following a grossly unfair trial. «Confessions» they have said were obtained under torture and other ill-treatment, including electric shocks and mock executions, were used to convict them. Their cases are before the Supreme Court.


Abdullah Karmollah Chab and Ghassem Abdullah were among 15 Ahwazi Arabs who were arrested following the armed attack on a religious ceremony in Safiabad on 16 October 2015. Within weeks of the attack and before their trial had taken place, the authorities made a series of announcements that undermined their presumption of innocence. On 1 November 2015, the public prosecutor of Dezful, Khuzestan province, announced: «After arresting all of the perpetrators on this incident, and [obtaining] their confessions, it is clear that this was a terrorist incident.» He went on to accuse the detainees of belonging to a group that called itself Jandolfareq, which he said had 15 members and aimed to commit sabotage operations and other acts in the province. He said: «Thankfully, they were identified and arrested after their first operation and had their weapons and other devices discovered and seized. According to the law, their crime is certainly that of moharebeh and they have been charged as such.» On 17 November 2015, the Islamic Republic News Agency also reported that the head of the justice department in Dezful told its reporters:» I anticipate that these ‘terrorists’ will be convicted of moharebeh and handed down a punishment that will make them pay for their deplorable actions and serve as a lesson to others.»

In court, Abdullah Karmollah Chab and Ghassem Abdullah were tried alongside six other Ahwazi Arabs. The prosecution authorities accused them of involvement in an armed group called Jandolfareq, which they described as following a «Salafi Takfiri» ideology, but failed to provide any evidence to show how the defendants were connected to the group. Amnesty International has received information from a reliable source that also show evidence of the flawed investigations that took place. These include inconsistencies between «confessions» the men say they made under torture and the evidence presented to the court. The men are said to have «confessed» that the car they used during the attack was a white Peugeot Persia while eyewitnesses have stated that a silver Peugeot 405, which is an older model, was used by the assailants. In addition, Ghassem Abdullah, who is a farmer, told his interrogators that he owns a rifle and indicated where they could find it. However, according to statements made by the arms specialist assigned to this case and a report by the security authorities, three shells found at the scene of the crime do not match the bullets found in the cartridge of the rifle that was retrieved from Ghassem Abdullah’s home. Despite these and other inconsistencies, the judge presiding over their trial refused to order an investigation into their torture allegations and accepted their «confessions» as evidence to sentence them to death. The six other defendants on trial with them were also convicted of «enmity against God» but were spared the death penalty and were instead sentenced to between three and 25 years in prison.

Abdullah Karmollah Chab is a 38-year-old with three children, and Ghassem Abdullah is a 32-year-old farmer with two children. Both men, from Shush county in Khuzestan province, are Sunni Muslims who have converted from Shi’a Islam.

Under international human rights standards, individuals charged with crimes punishable by death are entitled to the strictest observance of all fair trial guarantees. The arbitrary deprivation of life, as well as torture and other ill-treatment are absolutely prohibited at all times and in all circumstances.

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