On Wednesday morning (January 4) Iranian political prisoner Ali Moezzi went missing from Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran. The disappearance or secret confinement of Moezzi, who should celebrate his 63rd birthday this month, was said to have been witnessed by his family who were visiting him the time of the bizarre incident.

In a letter copied and received on Thursday by Amnesty International Moezzi’s daughters Forough and Hejrat say “some intelligence service agents took him to an unknown place and there is no news from him.” And have not be able to have any kind of communication with their father since Wednesday.

And so are imagining the worst.

Ongoing prosecutions

The agricultural engineer is no stranger to the abstraction that played out by the Iranian regime's religiously-impaired penal system, having been incarcerated and released several times since the 1980's; a run of prosecutions that have included him being sentenced for his outspoken support for Workers’ Rights in Iran, but also supporting the formal alliance for liberty in Iran, the MEK resistance group.

Social media has reacted to his sudden disappearance with the hashtag #SaveAliMoezzi and his family are also pleading for the United Nations HCR commissioner for Human Rights Raad Al-Hossein to intervene, his daughters saying that Moezzi (their father) is at the end of his prison sentence, but also that the sexagenerian's health is deteriorating; and in dire need of medical attention for his ongoing battle with cancer.

Suspicious circumstances

On an even more outlandish note, a question hangs over Moezzi's disappearance ahead of his planned release; that it may indeed be part of a clandestine attempt to silence him, through a simple denial of access to essential medical treatment, a move which would impact gravely on ailing Moezzi's physical health.

Furthermore, such a suspicious and abrupt disappearance of a political prisoner, who is due for imminent release, has caused his daughters in the letter to highlight that it’s not the first time that the Iranian regime has tried to silence prisoners using such brazen tactics.