Iran to flog dissidents for anti-government protest    Thu. 11 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 11 – More than a dozen protestors arrested in the oil-rich city of Ahwaz, southern Iran, during a demonstration in July were sentenced to serve prison time and to be flogged in public, Iran’s state-run news agency reported on Thursday.

A court in
Ahwaz sentenced the 15 individuals to flogging and jail time for “creating mayhem and disrupting public order”.

They had all been arrested during anti-government protests on July 27 and were accused of setting tyres on fire in the street and throwing stones at government buildings and vehicles belonging to the State Security Forces.

There were heavy clashes between government forces and protesters in
Ahwaz during the final week of July.

The city’s local state-run radio urged residents to stay at home as security forces imposed curfew on the areas of the city inhabited by ethnic Arabs.

Protestors chanted anti-government slogans and demanded an end to the government’s “ethnic cleansing” policy.

Ahwaz, provincial capital of Khuzistan, is home to Iran’s ethnic Arab population and has been a hotbed of anti-government demonstrations.

Dozens of people were reportedly killed in week-long clashes between mainly ethnic Arab protesters and security forces in
Ahwaz and several other cities in Iran’s Khuzistan province in April. The strategic area contains much of Iran’s oilfields.