An Iranian teacher activist was abducted yesterday by members of the Ministry of Intelligence in Mashhad. Hashem Khastar, who is the head of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association in Mashhad’s Golbahar region was abducted before entering his family lands and was taken to an unknown location.
According to reports, his cellphone was off and his car was left parked outside his property in Golbahar Park without any sign of Mr. Khastar.
His family and friends have expressed serious concerns for his safety.
In a letter after the recent two day nationwide teachers’ strike, Mr. Khastar had thanked the striking teachers and had strongly criticized the Iranian regime.
“We don’t have guns. Our guns are our pens and our words and our gatherings and sit ins. The guns are in the hands of those who protect lawless, tyrant, cruel rulers instead of defending the rule of law. They defend those who steal millions and yet arrest petty thieves and cut off their hands and legs,” he wrote bravely.
On October 22, a day before he went missing the retired teacher also wrote an article which he sent to a number of Persian news websites to publish. He had addressed the Iranian people giving them the good news that “Iran would soon be free from this hell.”
“Your children in prison can write a short letter and repent to easily be released from prison and live their own lives. But they teach the people the lesson of resistance by saying no to tyranny. They teach the people that one can stand against tyranny like other nations to realize freedom and democracy,” he wrote urging Iranians to rise against the regime.
He is also known to have directly targeted the Leader of the Islamic Republic saying that “the root of the corruption and all the problems, was Ali Khamenei”, and that he had to be held accountable.
The member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association was previously detained in Vakil Abad Prison in Mashhad and despite being threatened by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence on several occasion he had refused to cease his activities.
UPDATE: According to Mrs. Sedigheh Maleki, Hashem Khastar’s wife, the Intelligence Department of the Revolutionary Guards Corps abducted her husband without an arrest warrant yesterday. They have now hospitalized Khastar in the Ibn Sina Psychiatric Hospital, a mental institution in Mashhad. Mrs. Maleki said that her husband is being kept in a ward for patients with severe mental problems who are banned from visits.
“One of the nurses at the hospital told me that Mr. Khastar was kept in an emergency room in the hospital and that the visit ban was ordered by security officials,” she said.
“He was in good health and after retirement spent many of his days on our land doing agricultural work and the only medicine he used was for high blood pressure. The fact that he is hospitalized in the emergency room of a special mental hospital means that they have either injected medicine into him with the intention of killing him or that he was injured under torture or upon his arrest,” Hashem Khastar’s wife added.