However, Ahwazi activists believe that Hadi Rashedi and Hashem Shabani were executed immediately after their transfer from the Karoun prison of Ahwaz.
Iran Human Rights (IHR) strongly condemns execution of Ahwazi Arab activists. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR said: the leadership of the Iranian authorities must be held accountable for the unlawful executions of the Ahwazi Arab activists. We once again urge the United Nations to send an independent fact finding mission to Iran to investigate these executions".
On January 20, 2014, 13 human rights NGOs issued a statement calling to stop execution of Ahwazi Arab activists.
Hashem Shabani (32) and Hadi Rashedi (38) were sentenced to death for Moharebeh (“enmity against God”), Mufsid-fil-Arz (“corruption on earth”) and spreading propaganda against the system in July 2012 alongside three other political prisoners. All are founding members of Al-Hiwar, a cultural institute that promoted Arabic education, literature and cultural activities among deprived Ahwazi Arab youth.
Insisting on his innocence and demanding a retrial before an impartial court, Shabani has retracted the “confession” made following torture and has repeatedly repudiated violence. In a letter smuggled out of prison, Shabani wrote that he had written blogs and essays critical of the treatment of minorities in Iran, including “hideous crimes against Ahwazis
perpetrated by the Iranian authorities, particularly arbitrary and unjust executions. Through this reporting, I was defending the legitimate right that every nation in this world should have which is the right to live freely with full civil rights. With all these miseries and tragedies, I have never used a weapon to fight these atrocious crimes except the pen. ”
The death sentences against the men were met with condemnation by a group of five United Nations independent experts in January, who accused the Iranian authorities of torture and unfair trials.
The European Union subsequently imposed sanctions on judge Seyyed Mohammad Bagher Moussavi of Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court who sentenced the men to death as well as the officials responsible for broadcasting the “confessions”, head of IRIB World Service and Press TV Muhammad Sarafraz and Press TV newsroom director Hamid Reza Emadi