An Ahwazi photographer and cultural activist named Hakim Marwani was abducted from his home in the Mallashiyeh neighbourhood of Ahwaz city in the early hours of Saturday November 19 by unidentified men believed to be regime intelligence agents.
According to Ahwazi activists, quoting members of Hakim’s family, the men stormed the family’s home at around 5:00 a.m., giving no prior notification and without identifying themselves, dragging him from his bed and taking him, along with his cell phone, to an unknown destination. His mother was reportedly so traumatised by the violent raid on her home and her son’s abduction that she suffered a heart attack shortly afterwards, being rushed to Golestan Hospital where she remains in a critical condition.
Hakim, already a widely respected photographer, designer and activist, who is currently studying painting at Ahwaz University, won an award earlier this year in a photography competition held in the regional capital for his photographs documenting various aspects of life in the Ahwaz region. The subjects of his photography work, which focuses primarily on documenting the hardships and deprivation suffered by the Ahwazi people, range from Ahwazi folk customs and traditional dress to environmental issues such as the problems affecting the Karoon River. His Instagram pages, where he displays his photographs have gained tens of thousands of followers, attracting the attention of art-lovers from outside the Ahwaz region and raising awareness of the plight of the Ahwazi people.
Hakim’s family members reportedly visited all the Iranian regime authorities’ offices where he might have been taken, seeking any information on his whereabouts, but were sent away empty-handed with no information about the talented young artist.
The abduction is not unusual, with several prominent Ahwazi cultural activists being seized in recent raids by regime personnel and taken to unknown destinations. The fate of many of those abducted is still unknown. This is a standard technique used by the regime in an effort to terrorise the people into silence and acquiescence.
The Iranian regime intelligence service is believed to be responsible for the abduction. For years Ahwazi rights groups are urging the human rights organisations including the European Union and United Nations to take notice of Ahwaz’s situation and play their moral role in ending the human rights violations before it’s too late.