Iran: Photojournalist disappears on way to Women Soccer World Cup in Germany
Maryam Majd, an Iranian photojournalist, has disappeared on her way from Tehran, Iran, to Dusseldorf in Germany, according to Petra Landers, a former national football player. In a letter to the German Foreign Office, Landers who met Maryam Majd earlier this year during a trip to Iran, explains what happened: "When I wanted to pick her up at 10:30 am on the 17th of June 2011 from Düsseldorf airport, I realized that she was not on the plane. (Mahan Airlines confirmed that Ms. Majd was not on board). By phone she was no longer reachable because the phone was switched off. Since that day nobody in Iran or in Germany has heard from Maryam Majd." This is Majd's blog (in Persian)
Maryam Majd had expressed to Landers her interest in women's sports and the pair had planned that she would accompany Landers for two months during the Women's Soccer World Cup 2011 in Germany, in order to produce a phtographic record of the different soccer teams. Landers bought the plane ticket for Maryam Majd, purchased health insurance for her, and took care of all other formalities. On the day Maryam Majd was due to travel to Germany she called Landers from Tehran airport and confirmed that the flight would shortly be departing.
Petra Landers adds in her letter to the Foreign Office that "The
responsibility for the disappearance of Ms. Maryam Majd is now borne by the Iranian authorities and security forces. I am shocked and deeply concerned. I want to ask for you help in getting a response from the Iranian authorities. The political situation in Iran leads us to expect the worst."
The letter in German to the Foreign Office is attached
Via the Guardian, Wednesday 22 June 2011:
'Shadi Sadr [WLUML Council Member], a prominent women's rights campaigner living in exile in London, said: "We are almost sure that she has been arrested but the question is why authorities in Iran refuse to give any information about her after five days since her disappearance." Many opposition figures have been arrested at Tehran airport, especially since the disputed presidential election in 2009. Majd has been campaigning to allow women to watch football matches in stadiums. Women in Iran are prohibited from entering them amid fears they could face verbal abuse or violence. "Maryam is one of the very few women sports photographers in Iran and because she is a woman, she has exclusive access to women's sports and had been able to attract lots of attention towards sportswomen in the country," said Sadr.'
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