Naim Arbabi

Iranian Baluch Activist Killed Amid Ongoing Tensions

Saturday, 03/16/2024

Naim Arbabi, an Iranian Chabahar resident and participant in the 2022 anti-government protests, was shot dead by four armed assailants on Thursday.

Arbabi, who had been arrested during September 2022, was subsequently granted temporary release from Zahedan's Central Prison upon posting a substantial bail.

"Four unidentified armed individuals riding two motorcycles attacked Naim in the Chabahar Free Trade Zone near the Lipar Hotel, where he was camping. He was shot directly in the head with four bullets, resulting in his death due to the injuries sustained," Baluch sources reported Saturday.

The circumstances surrounding his murder remain shrouded in mystery, with sources suggesting involvement by security forces due to his continued political activism on social media.

Arbabi's death underscores the ongoing struggles faced by Baluch Iranians, particularly in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, where minority groups have endured repercussions for their involvement in the 2022 protests. The province, predominantly Sunni Baluch, has witnessed a heavy-handed response from the regime, with dissenters facing harsh punishments, including execution.

The Baluch people have long been targets of persecution in Iran, with a significant number of executions occurring within their populations. Many Baluchis face execution on drug-related charges, yet activists argue that they are often denied fair trials. The regime's use of drug charges is seen as retaliation for persistent protests following Friday prayers. These communities, residing in one of Iran's most impoverished regions, struggle with high unemployment and inadequate infrastructure, leading some to resort to fuel, goods, and even drug smuggling as a means of survival.

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