Family “Worried” About Ailing, Elderly Labor Activist Held Incommunicado
The family of ailing labor activist Asghar Firouzi has been extremely “worried” about his condition since he was detained by unidentified security agents, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
Firouzi, 70, was taken into custody in the presence of his colleagues at his book depository located on the outskirts of the city of Mashhad, capital of Khorasan Razavi Province, on December 3. He has not been heard from since, a close associate told CHRI on December 13.
“There were several agents who came with a warrant but did not say what agency they belonged to or what he was accused of and where he was being taken,” said the source who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals by Iranian security forces for speaking to a foreign media outlet.
The family is especially worried because Firouzi is in poor health.
“His son has gone everywhere to find him but everybody says they don’t know anything,” said the source. “He has not contacted his family and nobody has visited him. He has had one heart attack in the past and recently he has been suffering from memory problems.”
Firouzi served several years in prison in the 1980s for his peaceful political activities and narrowly escaped death during the Islamic Republic’s extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in the summer of 1988.
Since then he has been mainly involved in cultural activities such as organizing poetry nights and producing plays, as well as peacefully expressing support for labor protests but had not been summoned or arrested in recent years, the source added.
The family’s fears have been heightened due to the ongoing crackdown on labor activists throughout the country.