Iranian security forces have killed an opposition activist in Ahwaz, the capital of Khuzestan Province, and handed his body to his family on Thursday, a week after he was detained for allegedly pursuing a secessionist agenda of ethnic Arabs in the region, sources told Al Arabiya.
Nasser al-Boshoukeh Darafshan, 25, was detained on Jan. 25 in Ahwaz’s Naderi Street and taken to a security intelligence center where he was held for a week before his death.
A relative of the victim, who refused to be named for security reasons, told Al Arabiya by phone that no charge was filed against Darafshan in a court and that his body bore marks of torture.
The alleged extra-judicial killing, the relative said, appeared to be associated with Darafshan’s opposition of the Iranian regime’s policies against ethnic Arabs and Sunni Muslims in the region.
In a similar case, another Arab activist was detained in Ahwaz in March 2011, killed in Ahwaz prison and his body was delivered to his family a few days later.
Local media opposed to the current Iranian regime reported that security forces have detained dozens who participated in a night protest against the regime in Ahwaz.
Authorities also imposed emergency in the city and ordered raids on homes of suspected activists.
Abdul Karim, an activist who was recently released from detention, told Al Arabiya by phone that detainees, especially Sunni Muslims, were being tortured in Iranian prisons, and were accused of apostasy for rejecting Shiite Islam under the umbrella of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“Sunni Islam has spread widely in Ahwaz and nearby provinces and the Iranian authorities consider this as a threat to their national security,” Abdul Karim added.
Khuzestan is the source of 90 percent of Iran’s oil production, but people in the province complain of marginalizatio, poverty and the lack of adequate social services.
Besides, the province often takes the lion’s share of executions in the country. In 2007, Iranian authorities executed 22 activists in Ahwaz after they were accused to supporting the secession of the region from Iran.
(Translated from Arabic by Mustapha Ajbaili)