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Sports

Iran Protest Crackdown: Shiraz Mountaineers Hit By Wave Of Arrests

December 8, 2022
مریم دهکردی,  
Maryam Dehkordi
3 min read
Eshragh Najafabadi, a former member of Iran's national mountain bike team, was detained in Shiraz on November 9.
Eshragh Najafabadi, a former member of Iran's national mountain bike team, was detained in Shiraz on November 9.

According to information received by IranWire, a mountaineer and former member of Iran's national mountain bike team was arrested in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz a month ago and is being coerced to make a confession.

Eshragh Najafabadi, who is being held in an unknown location, is among at least five mountaineers and rock climbers from Shiraz who have reportedly been arrested during the ongoing uprising of the Iranian people.

According to human rights activists, more than 18,000 people have been detained since the protest movement started in mi-September, including many sports figures, artists and intellectuals who have voiced support for the demonstrations.

“Eshragh might be under pressure to make forced confessions”

Eshragh Najafabadi, a civil engineer born in 1992, used to practice cycling, canyoning, and mountaineering in his free time.

But on November 9, while he was waiting at a dental clinic in Shiraz, security agents detained him and searched his family home, an informed source told IranWire.

The family was told that Najafabadi was first brought to the Adol-Abad detention center before agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) intelligence agency took him out for questioning.

His relatives have had several short contacts with Najafabadi, but they have been given no information about his whereabouts.

"Eshragh has confirmed in his contacts with his father that he was brought back home for filming, and his family is very worried that Eshragh might be under pressure to make forced confessions. His father was told that he’s charged with ‘acting against national security’, but he’s sure that…the accusations are fake", the source said.

According to information received by IranWire, Branch 14 of Shiraz Revolutionary Prosecutor's Office is in charge of the case against Najafabadi.

However, his name was not in the judiciary’s Sana portal, nor on the Shiraz Revolutionary Court’s list of detainees.

Other mountaineers and rock climbers detained

According to information received by IranWire or published on social networks, at least five other mountaineers and rock climbers from Shiraz have been taken to custody over the past weeks.

Amir Arsalan Mahdavi, a 34-year-old snowboard and rock-climbing instructor, was arrested in a street on the evening of October 26 and taken to an unknown location, according to a source.

He has not had any contact with his relatives since his arrest.

Mahdavi’s family is said to have been pressured to not talk about the arrest, but some of his friends reported it on social networks.

Another climber, Marjan Jangjou, has reportedly been missing after security forces raided her sports club in Shiraz on November 2.

Her relatives filed a complaint about her disappearance at Branch 9 of Shiraz Police Criminal Investigation Department, but the authorities have not given any information about her fate yet.

IranWire also learned about the November 19 arrest of Dena Sheybani, a graphic artist and snowboard instructor from Shiraz.

Sheybani was traveling in a taxi when intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps stopped the car. She was arrested and transferred to Shiraz No. 100 detention center.

The family has had no information about her since November 22.

IranWire has information that Sheyann is being forced to admit having been in contact with foreign security bodies.

Hamid Ghashghaei, a mountaineer from Shiraz, is said to have been arrested on November 16 after writing the word "freedom" with chalk and mortar on the heights of Drak Mountain.

On November 30, friends of Hessam Mousavi, a rock-climbing coach from Shiraz, announced he had been arrested in the central city of Isfahan and transferred to an unknown location.

The man has since had no contact with relatives.

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