Greater Tehran Police have dismissed claims by the Iranian athlete and cyclist Lida Kaveh that she was abducted on June 27 in northwestern Tehran by a group of people who planned to transplant her heart into another person’s body.
Ms. Kaveh told the Iranian media that the kidnappers held her captive for nine days, and eventually released her after realizing that her heart was not compatible with the body of the would-be recipient. She alleged that the kidnappers dropped her off at the same spot where she was abducted.
“I was on my way home on Friday, but was not feeling well, so I hired a private minicab,” Iran daily’s afternoon edition reported on July 1, quoting Kaveh. “I got into a Kia Pride in Sanat Square. However, the passengers in the car pushed my head down under the backseat and told me to keep quiet.”
“They used drugs to put me to sleep. I woke up in a house half conscious,” she added. “They kept injecting me with drugs. After a few days, they told me that they intended to remove my heart and transplant it in someone else’s body. However, they said that my heart was not compatible with that person.”
“They gave me more drugs and put me in a car. I was not feeling well and did not know where I was or where they were taking me,” Kaveh alleged. “They stopped the car after a few minutes and let me out in a park. Despite being half-conscious, I stopped a woman and asked her to call the police.”
Tehran police have strongly disputed many aspects of Kaveh’s story.
“Lida Kaveh’s case has nothing to do with kidnapping,” Major Ali Sabahi, the head of Tehran Police Information Center said. “There is no evidence to support media reports about her alleged abduction and heart transplant story.”
Commander Sabahi added: “Police detectives from the violent crime division are investigating the circumstances of her disappearance.”
Tehran police chief Brigadier General Hossein Rahimi has also dismissed Kaveh’s kidnapping claims.
“This girl’s disappearance is not a case of kidnapping,” the Borna news website reported on July 1, quoting an unnamed police source. “There is not a shred of truth in her story about how she was abducted and held captive. Police investigations have shown that the girl is mentally unstable. She has given contradictory accounts of what allegedly happened to her.”
Borna also spoke to the Cycling Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which said it had no record of Kaveh ever being a member of any cycling team.
Some health and medical professionals have also cast serious doubts on the plausibility of Kaveh’s heart-transplant claims.
“It is impossible to perform a complicated heart transplant surgery in a home,” the Islamic Republic News Agency (ISNA) reported, citing Mehdi Shadnoush, the director of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education’s Center for Special Diseases and Organ Transplantation. “I do not know this person’s current state of mind and why she has said these things, and, therefore, cannot criticize her. However, I am outraged by the media for giving credence to such an absurd claim which could seriously hurt our efforts to gain public trust in organ donation.”
Mr. Shadnoush added: “There is a long waiting list for those in dire need of an organ transplant operation. The publication of such a ludicrous story could undermine our efforts to increase social awareness about the selfless act of opting for organ donation.”
“Despite the Ministry of Health’s vast resources and our expert medical knowledge, we still run into many problems when trying to transport an organ from one province to another.” Shadnoush pointed out. “So, how could such a complex operation take place in a house?”
Some people on social media have commented on Kaveh’s intriguing story.
@shaghaaa tweeted: “I fear that something much worse must have happened to Lida Kaveh, and her story is to cover up the awful truth. They will probably arrest some people, and that will be the end of the story.”
من همش میترسم، سر لیدا کاوه، یه بلای بدتر اومده باشه و این داستانش ماستمالی اون داستان باشه، تهشم یکی دو نفر دستگیر کنن نمادین و تموم شه بره.
— sha⛵ (@shaghaaa) July 1, 2019
@mearaj wrote: “If Ms. Kaveh is telling the truth, then instead of protecting our possessions we should all guard our bodies.”
@CurlyMarya tweeted: “This girl was kidnapped and nearly lost her heart, and yet Tehran police have said she is mentally unstable. Why don’t you for once side with the truth?”
چرا پليس تهران انقدر محبوب قلب هاست؟ دختررو دزديدن قلبشو پيوند بزنن يكي ديگه اين بي شرفا ميگن دروغه تعادل رواني نداره طرف، چرا يك بار فقط يك بار نميخواين سمت حق باشين؟ تو هر قضيه اي منفورين #لیدا_کاوه
— خانم فخرالدوله (@CurlyMarya) July 1, 2019
[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]