According to an Amnesty International Urgent Action, on 30 December, at least 50 and possibly hundreds of men from Iran’s Ahwazi Arabs were arrested as they attended a memorial in Ahvaz City, the capital of the south-western Khuzestan province. They were detained following an attack by members of the police and Bassij forces.

Those arrested, whose numbers have been reported by Ahwazi groups to be between 200 and 300, have been taken to an unknown location, and their family members have as yet received no information as to their whereabouts or wellbeing. It is feared that they could be tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention.

Amnesty International has received the names of 53 people said to have been arrested at the time. The organisation has also been informed that a number of people were injured when security forces opened fire on the crowd. These included 18 -year-old Amir Heydari, who was injured in the leg.

The memorial was being held on the seventh day after the death of Mehdi Heydari at the hands of security forces. An Ahwazi Arab in his twenties, he had been wanted by security forces for some time and had gone into hiding. He had returned home for a short visit, and was shot dead while trying to escape after officials from the Ministry of Intelligence surrounded his house.

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