Execution and mass arrest in Baluchistan: Balochistan Peoples Front

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Yaqoub Mehrnehad, the Baloch peaceful political activist, journalist and writer was executed today, the fourth of August 2008 along with another young Baluch human rights activist, Abdolreza Taheri Sadr. He was sentenced to death some time ago. When his family was allowed to meet after that he said that he was quite innocent and had no contact with any armed group. He said that he campaigned for equality and Justice and if death is the price for equality and Justice he would accept it with all his heart as accepting tyranny is giving the tyrants the opportunity to terrorise the innocent people.
He was also a social worker that gathered support for the people who had lost their relatives and properties in natural calamities and earthquakes. He was striving to provide support for those who did not have any support from anywhere. He was 30 when he was executed. He has joined the long line of Baluch martyrs who have chosen to have a graceful life and a dignified death. He will go in the history of Baluchistan as a hero who did not submit to the brutalities of the tyrants. His main crime was that he was a Sunni and a Baluch. The Islamic regime of Iran is a Shia fundamentalist that has a long history of persecuting of the Sunnis.
Gholamali Nekooee, the commander of the Baluchistan Security Forces announced that 4022 Baluch have been arrested in the last five months.(1) Another commander announced that one Baluch has been shot dead. He added that person had a long history of armed struggle against the regime. This commander did not identify the dead man.(2) Nekooee reported that 117,000 alien citizens were arrested and expelled from Iran. The Iranian regime has been engaged in a policy of ethnic cleansing by expelling the Baluch people from Iran as citizens of Pakistan or Afghanistan. Since the Baluch people in the 3 countries wear the same clothe and speak the same language, it is easy for the Iranian regime to continue its ethnic cleansing policy by uprooting the original native Baluch people of Iran and sending them to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Another report said that 726 Baluch men and women have been arrested recently. In another piece of news it was said that 22 Baluch have been arrested. (3)
The news of execution of Yaqoub Mehrnehad and Taheri , the killing of another Baluch person as a rebel, the arrest of 4022 Baluch, the arrest of 726 more Baluch men and women and the arrest of 22 more Baloch is just frightening. Every human being with a conscience cannot see this news and accept any legitimacy in Iranian regime. These kind of figures have been published in Iranian media regularly but they have been ignored by human rights organisations and Iranian opposition groups. These figures can fit in the frame of crime against humanity. Human rights organizations, the United Nations and political activists must be warned of such widespread crimes.
The death of Yaqoub Mehrnehad and Taheri, the peaceful political activists, means legality and legitimacy of armed struggle in Balochistan.
Yaqoub Mehrnehad, The leader of Voice of Justice, the only civil society organization in Baluchistan, has been condemned to death for organising a lawful meeting between the public and the local authorities in Baluchistan. He had official permission for holding this meeting. The local authorities, security forces and the Governor of Baluchistan were present at the meeting. The meeting started peacefully and ended peacefully without any disturbance.
Some members of the public raised some questions and the questions were answered by the different local authorities. There was no violence. There was no disturbance. There was not any other illegal activity. It was fully in the framework of the Iranian law and constitution.
The security forces raided the office of the Voice of Justice after the end of the meeting and arrested all the organisers including Yaqoub Mehrnehad. Those who were arrested were tortured by police but released after few months. Yaqoub Mehrnehad was tortured and sentenced to death. The authorities alleged that he had contacts with Abdul Malik Rigi, the leader of People's Resistance Movement of Iran.
Yaqoub Mehrnehad and Rigi had severe of differences over conducting political activities. Yaqoub Mehrnehad reasoned that like all the Iranian citizens, the Baluch had the right to engage in political and civil activities peacefully. He argued that some of the civil campaigners in prison were even allowed to conduct interviews with foreign media, that the government of Iran shows some kind of flexibility for political activities. Abdul Malik argued that they began their activities peacefully but their members were arrested, tortured and executed. He argued that it was the lack of opportunities for political activities that forced him and his friends to take arms.
These arguments happened in their weblogs. They never met. They never had direct contact.
Yaqoub Mehrnehad did not accept this argument and began his political activities peacefully within the framework of the Iranian law and constitution. Within a short time, he and his friends were arrested and tortured and he was condemned to death.
Yaqoub Mehrnehad now is condemned to death and his death sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme Court of Iran proving that Abdul Malik was right in his arguments.
The death sentence for the civil and peaceful political campaigner, Yaqoub Mehrnehad, proves the following points:

1. The civil campaigning and political activities are illegal and illegitimate in Balochistan and therefore, anybody who engages in civil campaigning and peaceful political activities can be condemned to death.

2. When civil campaigning and peaceful political activities are banned, political activists have not any other alternative but resorting to armed struggle.

3. The claims by Abdul Malik, the leader of People's Resistance Movement of Iran, proved to be true when there was no opportunity for peaceful civil campaigning armed struggle BECOMES legitimate, legal, moral and acceptable.

4. There are 100 armed groups in Baluchistan. They have always claimed that their armed struggle is legitimate and legal as the last resort because the Islamic Republic of Iran has not provided the right political environment for peaceful political activities.

5. All of these groups have claimed that they began their political activities peacefully through legal means and in the framework of the Iranian constitution. All of them claimed that their members were arrested, tortured and condemned to death because of the legal, peaceful and civil campaigning.

6. All of these groups claim they resorted to armed struggle only after all other actions were tested and considered by the Islamic Republic of Iran as illegal and illegitimate.

7. The Baluch people and Baluch political activists and human rights organisers have come to one shared and common conclusion: the Iranian regime is determined to force the Baluch people to complete submission for their complete eradication.

8. The Iranian policies towards the Baluch people are very clear: starvation to death or migration to other countries.

9. The evidence for this claimed is rampant:

10. According to official figures of the Iranian regime, 76 percent of the Baluch people live and poverty line. Such high level of poverty is the result of deliberate policies of the Iranian regime for eradicating the Baluch people through starvation. Poverty line is about 12 percent nationally.

11. Disease is widespread in Baluchistan. The Baluch people are deliberately denied access to acceptable health care facilities. Consequently, there are more sick people in Baluchistan than any other part of the country.

12. Illiteracy rate in Baluchistan is the highest in the country. This is also the consequence of the official policy of the regime to exclude the Baluch children from formal education and consequently driving them to poverty and starvation.

13. Famine in Baluchistan is more widespread and regular than any other part of the country. This is the result of the government's policies of abandoning the land without any developmental projects to create sufficient water reservoir.

14. The deforestation of Baluchistan is moving fast and wide to transform Baluchistan into a complete desert to force the people to starve to death or migrate to other countries.

15. The fertile lands of Baluchistan have been confiscated and given to agents of the Iranian regime.

In such circumstances the Baluch people are responding to measures designed to their complete elimination.

When Baluch people saw the consequences of the regime's policies in Baluchistan, they took the following actions:

1. Like all other citizens, they began complaining and informing the government officials.

2. The complaints led to the arrest of the people who filed the complaints.

3. The Baluch people consulted their religious leaders and persuaded them to see the supreme leader of Iran and inform him of the plight of the Baluch people.

4. Their religious leaders met the supreme leader and other authorities but no action was taken except that the religious leaders were put in very difficult situation.

5. The educated groups began a series of lobbying, meeting different government officials but their meetings did not bring any positive action.

6. They began to write in the Internet sites and Blogs. Consequently some of them were arrested, tortured and hanged under the false accusation of drug trafficking.

7. Some of the less educated people of Baluchistan began armed struggle as they did not see any positive results coming from peaceful activities.

8. Abdul Malik Rigi began his activities as a civil campaigner and distributed leaflets about the plight of the Baluch people. His colleagues were arrested, tortured and executed under the usual allegation of drug trafficking.

9. Abdul Malik Rigi concluded that the Iranian regime was determined to completely eliminate the Baluch people through different ways and therefore, he took farms and conducted several armed attacks on the security forces. He became quickly popular in Baluchistan and turned into a hero and legend. The other people of Baluchistan who witnessed his popularity followed his strategy of armed struggle.

Now there are about 100 armed groups in Baluchistan who are campaigning to prevent the Iranian regime from suppression, oppression, and starvation of the Baluch people.

Conclusion

By executing of Yaqoub Mehrnehad and the arrest of his 16 years old brother, and the arrest of more than 5000 Baloch in a short time, the regime has proved the credibility of the claims of the Baluch people that their armed struggle was the only strategy for preventing the Iranian regime from the genocide of the Baluch people.
No people will sit idle and witness his own demise. According to all laws and human rights conventions and organizations, individuals and peoples have the right of survival and have the right of defending themselves. The Baluch people are not an exception. They have their rights to defend themselves like all other people. If the United States of America has the right of invading Afghanistan and Iraq and removing their regimes for self-defence, if Turkey has the right of attacking the Kurdish fighters for self-defence, if other people had the right of defend themselves through out history, Baluch people have the same right.
At the same time the Baluch people have done their best to comply with international law. When Amnesty International published its report on Baluch people and requested Abdul Malik Rigi to stop taking armed action against the civil targets of the Iranian regime, he responded by stopping his armed struggle completely. But when Amnesty International requested the Iranian regime to stop the killing of the Baluch people, the Iranian regime did not pay any attention to it and followed its policy of repression, oppression and violence against Baluch people.
Keeping in mind that the Iranian regime has banned civil and peaceful political activities in Baluchistan, the international community, human rights organisations and democratic governments of the world must recognize the right of the Baluch people for self-defence.

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