A Spaniard walking to the World Cup on foot in Iran

A Spaniard who disappeared while walking from Spain to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup has been arrested in Iran after visiting the grave of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman who died after being arrested for breaking hijab laws, human rights activists have said.

Santiago Sánchez, a 41-year-old former paratrooper, has been missing since crossing the northwest border from Iran about three weeks ago, according to his family, who said they heard from him on October 2. .

He was detained by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry in Saqqez while visiting Amini’s grave, according to the Hengaw Human Rights Organization.

The Spanish native was accompanied by his translator, an Iranian citizen. Both were arrested.

Santiago Sánchez had documented his journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Instagram.
Instagram / @santiago_sanchez_co

Sánchez had documented his trip from his hometown of Madrid to Oatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Instagram when his posts about his adventure suddenly stopped on October 1 upon entering Iran.

The daily WhatsApp updates that Sánchez sent to his family also stopped at this time, and after hearing nothing for weeks, his family reported him missing to the Spanish National Police and Ministry of Justice. Foreign Affairs.

« We are deeply worried, we can’t stop crying, my husband and I, » said his mother, Celia Cogedor.

Iranian authorities have not confirmed Sánchez’s alleged detention.

Santiago Sanchez
Santiago Sánchez’s family have not heard from him since the start of the month.
Instagram / @santiago_sanchez_co

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Information Ministry announced several weeks ago that it had arrested nine foreigners, mostly European citizens, on charges related to protests following Amini’s suspicious death. .

The 22-year-old Iranian woman died after being arrested by morality police in Tehran for breaking a law that requires women to cover their hair with a headscarf, and their arms and legs with loose clothing.

She was reportedly beaten inside a van as she was taken to a detention center and lay in a coma for three days before dying.

Map from Madrid to Qatar
Santiago Sánchez was making his journey from Madrid to Qatar on foot.
Instagram / @santiago_sanchez_co

Amini’s death sparked widespread protests against the Islamic Republic’s death police. As a result, at least 201 people including 23 children were killed

His death sparked widespread protests against the Islamic Republic’s death police, and at least 201 people, including 23 children, were killed, according to Iran Human Rights (IHR).


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