Saturday , 21 July 2018

Dissident Activist Disappears, Lawyer Says Possibly Murder

Radiofarda – An Iranian dissident activist who was involved in anti-government protests last December and January has disappeared without a trace. Her lawyer says murder cannot be ruled out.

Maryam Faraji, 33, left her home near Tehran eight days ago and there is absolutely no news about her whereabouts.

Mohamad Aghasi, Faraji’s lawyer in a series of tweets on July 12 said that it is possible her client has been murdered. This immediately turned into accusations on social media that security forces might have abducted and killed her.

The lawyer later tweeted again saying that he is no away accusing the Islamic Republic’s security organs in the possible death of Faraji. He is simply saying that her murder cannot be ruled out.

It is not clear why Mr. Aghasi has suggested that Faraji might have been killed or why he is so sure that security forces were not involved.

But Aghasi, who had a hard time to be listed by Iran’s judiciary as an “approved lawyer” to represent a political case, has to thread carefully and that could be the reason for his insistence that security forces are not involved in possible murder.

A recent regulation does not allow any lawyer to represent political cases. The judiciary controlled by hardliners and accountable only to the Supreme Leader has issued a list of attorneys who are allowed to take up cases of people accused of anti-government activities.

Maryam Faraji, who is a graduate student of management and a financial officer of a private company was arrested in early January during widespread protests in Iran and was interrogated in prison.

Later she was convicted to a three-year prison sentence and banned from leaving the country. She was free on bail when she disappeared.

Aghasi has said that her client’s mobile phone is turned off and her families attempts to find a trace by contacting all official organs have produced no clues.

In the unrest at least 3,700 were arrested and the deaths of 22 people were confirmed.