The Iranian regime claims that a man who pleaded to see his daughter before execution “faked” his story, but many see it as a regime hoax to discredit the opposition.
An audio file emerged on social media last week in which a man identified as Firouzi or someone posing as him said he had only one wish, to be allowed to see his baby daughter one more time before being executed. He also said he was being tortured to make a scripted “confession” but that he knew he would be executed whether he complied or not. He said he was arrested during recent protests.
Several Iranian television channels abroad reported on the case, including Iran International, with available photos showing him badly tortured.
Then on January 22 Iran’s Judiciary issued a statement and claimed that no one by the name of Hassan Firouzi had ever been arrested.
Its official Mizan News Agency made a further claim Wednesday that Hassan Firouzi, was arrested while fleeing the country.
Mizan also published several photos of the detained man in an empty plane with Qeshm Air logo visible in the cabin. Mizan claimed that Firouzi had faked his arrest and torture to escape from his creditors and carried out his plan with the help of “hostile foreign-based media” and provided them with his fake torture photos and stories.
Pro-regime media and social media are currently abuzz with claims that other cases of dead protester and torture are similarly fake.
The social media account of Iran Human Rights Society which is reportedly affiliated to the Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MEK) last week claimed that Firouzi had gone into a coma resulting from further tortures because of sending out the recorded message. It was also claimed that his family had been taken to a hospital to see him for the last time.
Some journalists and social media activists such as Masoud Kazemian became suspicious of the case for several reasons including the leaking of unique and gruesome photos of a tortured Firouzi and his audio file but no records of his trial or sentencing, as social media reports were claiming. There was also no trace of his family and friends speaking about his case.
A human rights activist based in Europe who in December established a Twitter account, Political Sponsorship Iran (@PoSpoIr), as a centralized hub for sponsorship of political prisoners told Iran International that Firouzi case is being used by the regime’s propaganda machine to discredit the international effort by hundreds of European lawmakers and activists to prevent the torture and execution of Iranian protesters.
“Hassan Firouzi has three French, one German, one Canadian and one Danish sponsor because his reported circumstances seemed to be exceptionally dire. Planning this and making his case look fabricated is psychological war,” the activist behind @PoSpoIr said.
“You don’t win all the time in a war. Firouzi’s case, if it is really a hoax, does not rule out the authenticity of hundreds of other cases or stop parliamentarians who are well-informed about the regime’s dirty tricks from volunteering to take political sponsorship of other prisoners or pursuing the cases they have already accepted,” she added.
There are also some people who think a Hassan Firouzi may have really been arrested for protesting, tortured and sentenced to death, and again tortured to say he had never been arrested and had only faked the whole story.
“We cannot confirm, based on the extant information, that whether this person’s life is in danger or not,” Seda-ye Shahrivar, a Twitter account dedicated to the news of recent protests, said about the case while pointing out that the situation could result in “lack of trust and confusion over the conditions of political prisoners” by creating doubt about their veracity.