LONDON: The son of an US-Iranian dissident abducted by Tehran has urged the international community to demand justice for his father, who has not been seen publicly for more than a year, The Independent newspaper reported.
Shayan Sharmahd, the 33-year-old son of Jamshid Sharmahd who was kidnapped in Dubai last year, said: “I would just say, ‘Don’t be silent, we have to speak up. Now is definitely the time.’ And that goes out not just to all the people, but to all the governments and organizations. It affects everybody.
“My father said that the only way to get rid of the regime was to make the public aware, by exposing what it was doing - by fighting back with the same force it is fighting.”
Sharmahd, a 66-year-old IT specialist who fled Iran four decades ago, was a spokesman for a group seeking to overthrow the Iranian government.
He was seized by Iranian agents in July last year, reportedly from a hotel close to Dubai International Airport.
Following his abduction, Tehran revealed it had seized the dual national in “a complex operation” and broadcast a supposed confession on state television, where Sharmahd admitted to directing an attack on the Iranian city of Shiraz that killed 14 people.
However, Amnesty International, which has highlighted his case and said it feared for his life, said his family denied he was involved in any of the violence that Tehran had accused him of.
His family added that he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had likely received inadequate medical care while detained.
Shayan said he believed the Iranian government was “seeking to intimidate all dissidents.”
He added: “It feels a bit like desperation, like they’re backed into a corner. The world is slowly waking up to the fact the regime running the country — which the people of Iran don’t like — are just bullying everybody around the world.”
The family’s US lawyer, Jason Poblete, warned that Iran had overseen the kidnapping of overseas-based dissidents for four decades in order to gain political clout and send a message of intimidation.
“They tried to assassinate Sharmahd in 2009,” he said. “The Iranians have done this a lot of times.”