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Source: Iranwire

Jul 15, 2023

#Where_Is_Mahmonir?

BY SAMANEH GHADARKHAN


We are launching the hashtag #Where_Is_Mahmonir? as a rallying call for information on the whereabouts of Mahmonir Molaei-Rad, the mother of Kian Pirfalak, a nine-year-old boy who was killed during nationwide protests last year.


Kian and several other Izeh residents lost their lives when government forces fired live ammunition on protesters in the south-western city on November 16.


Officials have labeled the Izeh massacre as a "terrorist" act and attributed it to government opponents. Pirfalak's mother rejected the claims at her son's funeral, accusing security forces of firing bullets at the family’s car.


Security officers had tried to scare Mahmonir and other people away from attending a memorial service for Kian on June 11 this year, which would have marked the boy’s 10th birthday.


That day, Pouya Molaei-Rad, Mahmonir’s 21-year-old cousin, was killed by gunfire from government forces near the cemetery where Kian is laid to rest.


A photograph showing Mahmonir lost in thought at her cousin's funeral, with her hands tightly clasped around her knees, was widely shared on social media. 


According to IranWire sources, security institutions interrogated Mahmonir after Pouya's death, and conditioned the hand-over of his body to the family to her silence.


IranWire's attempts to interview Abdullah Izadpanah, Izeh’s representative in parliament, have been unsuccessful. 


Yousefali Savari, the former head of Izeh City Council, who previously taught in the city at the elementary level, was familiar with the Molaei-Rad and Pirfalak families.


When asked about Mahmonir's current situation, Savari stated, "This is an issue that doesn’t concern us. Our lives are governed by the system."


Before abruptly ending the conversation, he said he had no information about the fate of Mahmonir and her family, and that he will not pursue the matter or offer any support to them.


Mahmonir’s current location remains unknown. Concerns also linger regarding the fate of the Molaei-Rad and Pirfalak families.




Is Mahmonir under house arrest?

After the killing of Pouya Molaei-Rad, several sources reported that Mahmonir and her husband Meysam, as well as their other child Radin, have been placed under house arrest at the residence of Meysam's mother.


A heightened security presence has been reported in the village where Mahmonir's family resides.


A source close to the Molaei-Rad and Pirfalak families told IranWire: "Following the tragic incident involving Pouya Molaei-Rad, Mahmonir faced significant pressure, primarily from the security establishment. They tried to portray her as being responsible for Pouya's tragic death, both in the city where Mahmonir resides and on social media platforms used by security agencies.”


According to the source, Mahmonir was summoned to the Izeh Intelligence Department after Pouya’s death.

"She was interrogated for two to three hours, and her Instagram account was shut down during the interrogation," said the source. 


The source said that Mahmonir “did not accept” the conditions set for the release of Pouya's body to the family – that Mahmonir ceases her online activity, refrains from seeking justice, and says that security forces were not involved in her child’s death.


On June 17, reliable sources reported the arrest of Sajjad Pirfalak, an uncle of Kian. The individual who spoke with IranWire said the arrest was part of escalating pressure put on the Molaei-Rad and Pirfalak families prior to the release of Pouya's body.


"The family was in a dire situation, confused and undecided until several security agents suddenly attacked Sajjad Pirfalak in the city...in an unusually forceful manner.”


"They forcibly put him in a vehicle and took him away. This occurred after Sajjad and his lawyer were summoned multiple times. Eventually, Sajjad was released on a bail of 2 billion tomans ($40,000).”


As a result of the pressure exerted on him, the man has put an end to his online activities, the source said.

The accusations Sajjad Pirfalak is facing are often used by security institutions to fabricate cases against critics of the Islamic Republic and its officials.


"Sajad Pirfalak's charges, such as activities and propaganda against the system and disturbing public order, are general and vague. These accusations can be leveled for minor things such as liking a post on social media, sharing a tweet or posting a simple story," the source said.


Meysam Pirfalak's Worrying Mental Condition

Kian's father Meysam Pirfalak, his uncle Sajjad, his other uncle Mehrdad and their family lawyer have all faced threats from security institutions.


The authorities have summoned them for questioning and filed cases against them.


Even Dawood Shahvali, the lawyer representing the Molaei-Rad and Pirfalak families, has faced legal action on charges such as "disrupting public order" and "disseminating false information in cyberspace."


Both Sajjad and Mahmonir have been banned from online activities, and their social media accounts are no longer accessible.


According to informed sources, Meysam Pirfalak's mental well-being has significantly deteriorated as a result of these pressures.


"Following the arrest of his brother Sajjad and Pouya’s tragic death, Meysam Pirfalak has experienced intense mental pressure that led to a deterioration in his mental state. Even though Sajjad has been released, Meysam continues to endure significant pressure," said one source.


Mahmonir at the Center of Threats 

According to Mahmonir's relatives, the threats from security forces began immediately after Kian's death and have since intensified.


"Since the day she lost her child, this mother has never been free from the threats imposed by the security forces,” a family member said. “The threats became increasingly severe and intense when Mahmonir faced legal prosecution, and they further intensified after Pouya's death.”


"They attempted to prevent Pouya's burial from becoming a significant event similar to Kian's funeral, and unfortunately, they succeeded. Through their threats, they controlled the burial of the deceased.”


"Initially, Pouya's body was held hostage, and the family was not allowed to proceed with the [burial] arrangements.


The Molaei-Rad family was informed that if Mahmonir openly declared that Kian was not killed by the police, they would release Pouya's body."


According to this source, the threats have to some extent diminished because Sajjad Pirfalak was released on a hefty bail. However, security forces continue to exert pressure on Mahmonir through various means.


Her relatives emphasized that Izeh residents stand firmly with the Pirfalek and Molaei-Rad families and refuse to abandon them.


"The people of Izeh are courageous and resilient, refusing to yield to oppression," a relative said. "They have made a solemn commitment to stand by the family until the day a statue of Kian is erected in the city's main square."



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