Iranian Authorities Silent on Green Movement Campaign Worker Missing Since 2011
“None of the state agencies confirm or deny anything.”
Alireza Piri, a dentist from Tabriz in northwestern Iran who campaigned for former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been missing since he was arrested on January 9, 2011. His family has not received any official information about his whereabouts despite making numerous inquiries with the authorities.
“Many individuals told us that they saw Alireza in the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center [in Tabriz]. Then we heard he had been admitted to the Aminabad Mental Hospital [outside of Tehran],” Piri’s father, Mohammad Hassan Piri, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “We went there, but his name was not in the registry. Some MPs exchanged letters about this case with the Intelligence Ministry, but there was no response. No one did anything to help us.”
“My son’s car was abandoned in a parking garage. The guard there told us that three individuals took away my son in a dark Peugeot [on the day of his arrest],” he said. “The cameras were not working that day and so the detectives had nothing to go with.”
“In all these years, no money has been taken out of my son’s bank account and that’s why we think he has been detained for political reasons, but we have no evidence to prove it. Meanwhile none of the state agencies confirm or deny anything. We don’t know what to do,” he added.
Mohammad Hassan Piri told the Campaign that the Investigative Police had tried to “fabricate a criminal case” showing that Alireza Piri had been abducted and killed by criminals, but had no evidence to prove their story.
A dentist by profession, Alireza Piri was not a political activist but turned his office into the local campaign headquarters for Mousavi, the leader of Iran’s Green Movement, when he ran in the country’s widely disputed presidential election in 2009.
Mousavi, whose call for peaceful protests after disputing the vote count was embraced by millions of Iranians, has been under house arrest since 2011 along with his wife Zahra Rahnavard and former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi. Those peaceful protests, which were met with violent state repression, are still a highly sensitive topic in Iran, and referred to by hardline authorities as the “sedition.”
“My son was not a political person. He was just a concerned citizen…He was a very ordinary person who was busy with his own life. He worked in his dental office day and night. He wasn’t interested in letting go of everything and getting into politics. Maybe he went somewhere he wasn’t supposed to and they considered that a crime. We don’t know.”
“Four days before the [June 14] 2013 presidential election, we received a call that the supreme leader had ordered an investigation into Alireza’s case,” said Mohammad Hassan Piri. “We answered all their questions and they said they would contact us within 72 hours, but three years have passed and we haven’t heard from them. They won’t even answer our calls anymore. I wish they would call and say they’re not responsible. But they don’t say anything and we’re wondering what to do.”