How authoritarian regimes try to silence dissidents in exile
The US-based think tank Freedom House has documented thousands of cases of transnational repression in recent years. It's likely just the tip of the iceberg. Because often, victims and their relatives remain silent, fearing further repercussions if they speak out.
Report: Toni Neumann, voiced by Ben Restle
In July 2020, German-Iranian businessman and US resident Jamshid Sharmahd boarded an Emirates flight bound for India. Sharmahd had a layover in Dubai, where he checked into a hotel for the night.
"He called my mother from Dubai on July 28. And she was very worried, of course. Because nobody who criticizes the Iranian regime is safe in countries like Turkey or the Arab Emirates or anywhere else in the Middle East. After that phone call, we didn’t hear from him in two, three days. But on August 1, relatives woke us up, telling us: "There's something on the Internet that you need to check out."
That "something on the internet" was a video showing Gazelle Sharmahd’s father held captive by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
"We watched the video. The Iranian regime was showing my father. He was blindfolded, with a swollen face. He was forced to confess things he didn't do. And it was at that moment that we knew: Iran’s regime kidnapped my father and may have killed him."
Jamshid Sharmahd was sentenced to death in Iran this year on February 21 for his political activism. He had become a victim of transnational repression.