A mobile app has caught the identity of a member of Iran’s dreaded Revolutionary Guards after the smartphone of an Ahwazi Arab political prisoner was seized when he was arrested and tortured in Ahwaz City, an Arab majority city near the border with Iraq.
According to Herana, using an anti-theft app, the phone took the photo of the man the activist claims had tortured him and other inmates during a clamp-down on dissidents. The app is activated when anyone attempts to break into it and sends an email to the owner with the picture and the GPS location of the smart phone.
The Revolutionary Guards – which has been deployed to Syria and Iraq to support Tehran’s troubled puppet states – is notoriously brutal. However, the botched attempt to break into the phone and extract information reveals the technological weaknesses of the regime.
The alleged interrogator is accused of involvement in severe beatings of prisoners held in custody and “insults to dignity and honour” that victims refuse to discuss.
The Ahwazi man, who cannot be named, told me: “I was very surprised to see the photo of the face of my torturer. I want the world to see his face. We have faced injustices and we want the unmask our secret police. We want them to feel humiliation in front of the world and answer for their crimes against humanity.”
Ahwazi Arabs face ethnic discrimination and persecution in Iran. Activists are routinely arrested and many members of Arab cultural organisations have been executed in recent months on charges of “enmity with God” and “spreading corruption on the earth”.
A recent report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated: “An escalation in executions, including of political prisoners and individuals belonging to ethnic minority groups such as Baloch, Ahwazi Arabs and Kurds, was notable in the second half of 2013.”