UPDATE – Spanish tourist missing while trekking in Qatar turns out to be detained in Iran – NGO
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – October 26, 2022) Spanish tourist Santiago Sanchez, who was reported missing three weeks ago on his way to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has been arrested by security forces. security in the Iranian city of Saqiz after visiting the grave of Mahsa Amini, the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said, citing a report available to it.
The football fan planned to travel to Qatar in time for the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first match of which is scheduled for November 20. However, a connection between him and his relatives was lost on October 2, when Sanchez came just 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the Iran-Iraq border.
“Santiago Sanchez, a 41-year-old Spanish tourist, was abducted by Iranian security forces after visiting the tomb of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini in Saqqez (Saqiz). According to the report received by the Human Rights Organization Hengaw man, Santiago Sanchez was detained by Iranian Ministry of Intelligence forces in Saqqez, Kurdistan Province,” a statement said.
Sanchez’s translator, an Iranian citizen from the port city of Bandar Abbas, was also arrested by Iranian security forces, the non-governmental organization said.
“Hengaw sources, whose identity remains protected for security reasons, said Santiago Sanchez is being held at the Iranian Intelligence Detention Center in (the city of) Sanandaj,” the statement added.
Iran must have informed Spanish diplomatic and consular authorities of the detention of the Spanish citizen in accordance with international law, the organization said. Madrid, apparently, hadn’t been informed as Sanchez’s family had no word of his whereabouts for three weeks.
Iranian security forces have so far arrested 14 foreigners and detained scores of others accused of having links to organizers of mass protests in the country following the death of Amini, 22, in September, Iranian news agency Fars reported last week.
Amini was arrested by Iranian vice police in Tehran on September 13 for wearing an “inappropriate” hijab, an offense that carries a prison sentence. The woman was sent to one of the centers belonging to the police department and military intelligence for an explanatory conversation. At the center, Amini reportedly suffered a heart attack, after which she was immediately rushed to hospital where she died on September 16.
Many Iranian citizens have blamed the vice police for Amini’s death, alleging that law enforcement officers hit her on the head. Iranian women have started posting videos on social media showing them cutting their hair, burning hijabs and rusari scarves, which they are forced to wear on their heads.
Meanwhile, a series of mass protests hit several Iranian cities. The unrest has been going on in the country for more than a month.