Human rights activist Kouhyar Goudarzi remains missing two months after being arrested with two of his friends in Tehran
Pressure is mounting on Iran to determine the fate of Kouhyar Goudarzi, an Iranian human rights activist who remains missing two months after being arrested.
Officials are refusing to acknowledge the arrest of the 25-year-old member of the Committee for Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) in Iran, who is believed to have been picked up from a friend's house in Tehran on 31 July along with two of his friends.
His lawyer and family, who contacted the officials, have so far not received any information that could shed light on where or under what circumstances he is currently being kept.
But Behnam Ganji, a friend and flatmate who was detained with Goudarzi and later released, is reported to have met him in Tehran's Evin prison, where scores of political and human rights activists arrested in the aftermath of Iran's disputed presidential elections in 2009 are being held.
Concerns over Goudarzi's situation have escalated in recent days after Ganji and another mutual friend, Nahal Sahabi, killed themselves under mysterious circumstances.
Various people close to Ganji have since stepped forward, speaking to journalists on condition of anonymity, to say that he was under "intense pressure" to make forced confessions against Goudarzi.
It is believed that Iranian authorities have been trying to fabricate evidence against Goudarzi by linking him to the dissident group People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), a sworn enemy of the Islamic regime, which is also designated as a terrorist organisation by the US and Canada.
After his release, Ganji said he had heard Goudarzi being interrogated in jail, according to Amnesty International. "Behnam Ganji Khaibari said that he too had been interrogated, every morning and afternoon, and pressured to make a 'confession' incriminating Kouhyar Goudarzi," Amnesty said.
Contradictory accounts have also emerged in recent days about Ganji and Sahabi and the possible motives behind the double suicides.
It was initially reported that they were lovers and were both arrested along with Goudarzi. But it is now believed that a third person arrested along with Goudarzi and Ganji was not in fact Sahabi but another person.
Sahabi's father said in an interview that his 37-year-old daughter and the 22-year-old Ganji were not lovers and she had never been arrested but that Ganji's suicide was a factor in her decision to take her own life. Her father was upset about reports calling them lovers, apparently because men and women in relationships outside marriage in Iran can smear the honour of the family.
In a separate interview with Roozonline, a news website, Sahabi's former employer said she had been deeply affected by social and political events in Iran in the past two years.
It is not clear whether the two were in love but Sahabi's latest blogposts could give the impression that they were.
The CHRR website quoted unofficial reports last week that Goudarzi is now being held in solitary confinement.
"[Under Iranian law], holding a prisoner in solitary confinement is considered a form of psychological torture and has been declared illegal. Nevertheless, holding political prisoners in solitary confinement has become a common method of torture in Iran," CHRR reported.
It said: "Since his arrest, Kouhyar Goudarzi has been denied the right to call his family members or meet with them."
Goudarzi's mother, Parvin Mokhtareh, who previously highlighted her son's plight, is also in jail in the southern city of Kerman after being accused of insulting the supreme leader, propaganda against the regime and acting against national security.
Iran's embassy in London was not immediately available on Tuesday to make comments on Goudarzi's arrest.