Mother of Iranian teenager on MH370 suffering 'slow death'

Madam Niloufar Vaezi Tehrani with her son Pouria. -- PHOTO: THE STAR 
Madam Niloufar Vaezi Tehrani with her son Pouria. -- PHOTO: THE STAR 

KUALA LUMPUR/SUNGAI BULOH (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - For the mother of an Iranian teenager who boarded Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with a false passport, each day since the flight vanished on March 8 has been "a slow death" .

Madam Niloufar Vaezi Tehrani, who is based in Germany, described herself as a woman with a heart full of pain.

"I'm going to a psychologist because not only did I lose my son, I lost my life. I missed my train because I can't concentrate. When I wake up, I would go the TV and laptop for news and suddenly I realise the day has passed," said Madam Niloufar, 47.

She told The Star that Pouria Nourmohammadi, 19, had emailed her, saying he had plans to fly to Malaysia and then use a false passport to get to Germany.

The chemical engineering student yearned to see his mother, who is battling stage two breast cancer.

In the early days of the MH370 crisis, global attention was fixated on the blurry images of two Iranians identified by police as imposters who had used false passports.

For a time, Pouria was a prime suspect in the disappearance of the Boeing 777. There was speculation then that he was a terrorist.

The simple truth, however, was the story of a son desperately trying to reunite with his mother, no matter the cost.

While the families of the MH370 crew and passengers came under the care of Malaysia Airlines and volunteers, Madam Niloufar said she had been suffering alone.

"These days, nobody takes care of me. I don't know anything about MH370. I don't know what happened to my son. MAS and the Malaysian authorities never once spoke to me or gave me information about my son," she claimed.

The former midwife fled Teheran two years ago after suffering abuse at the hands of her husband. She took her youngest son Ilia, 14, with her and settled in Germany.

"She had difficulty getting Pouria out due to his age then," said Madam Niloufar's lawyer Dan Gilleon.

Pouria, 19, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza, 29, boarded the ill-fated plane using passports belonging to an Austrian and Italian national respectively on March 8. They were to fly to Beijing and then take a connecting flight to Frankfurt, where Madam Niloufar was waiting.

It is believed the duo used the Italian and Austrian documents as those passports did not require visas to enter Germany.

"He wanted to see his sick mother. Okay, find him and punish him. But I just want to know about my son," said an emotional Niloufar.

Madam Niloufar and Mr Gilleon are now planning to pursue a wrongful death claim against MAS.

Mr Gilleon claimed MAS had refused to release Pouria's ticketing information, which is needed to determine the jurisdiction for a lawsuit, adding that MAS cited ongoing investigations against Pouria as the reason.

Madam Niloufar said all she could do now was to wait and pray, hoping that authorities would understand that she was just a parent looking for her loved one.

"I saw a picture of one of the crew's wife giving birth. I know how she must have suffered. These days, I pray not only for Pouria but all the passengers to be safe and for God to bless them. I hope the world will not forget us," she said.

Madam Niloufar is not alone in her suffering. 

With her husband Mohamad Hazrin Mohamed Hasnan still missing, Madam Intan Maizura Othman is juggling being both a mother and father to her two children.

“I am seeking strength in my children,” said the 34-year-old, of her daughter Iman, four, and her newborn 28-day-old son Muhammad.

“It’s a tiring task that I have to do alone now; taking care of my kids, waking up alone and coping with all this. It has been challenging,” she said.

“I’m okay but now that it has come to a 100 days, it’s getting more painful and tiring. I’ve grown restless of just waiting,” she said.

Madam Intan said  Mr Mohamad Hazrin, a cabin crew member on the Boeing-777, was her partner in everything at home – from caring for the family to doing the household chores. “It’s excruciating just missing him,” she said.

During a charity dinner organised by the National Union of Flight Attendants earlier this month, Madam Intan said she had to be strong for her children. “In time, I will tell Iman that she has lost her papa,” she said.

About 10 passengers and cabin crew families gathered at the Kolej Perkembangan Awal Kanak-Kanak on Sunday to commemorate the 100th day of the flight’s disappearance and to mark Fathers Day.

Madam Intan, along with the other families, penned heartfelt notes to their loved ones and folded them into paper planes and cranes.

The event was organised by Voice370, a next-of-kin association of 205 families of the MH370 passengers, which aims to “seek the truth behind” the disappearance.

In Subang Jaya, friends of pilot Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah gathered at the Subang airport and shared fond memories of him.

Mr Peter Chong remembered how Capt Zaharie made ketupat palas for him last year.

“He makes really good ketupat palas and sent me a picture of him making it. Next thing I knew, he was at my door step the next day with the ketupat palas,” he said.

Capt Zaharie’s Penang Free School classmate Mohd Nasir Othman expressed sadness that the plane had yet to be found.

“It is 100 days now and it seems we are back to square one,” he said, describing Capt Zaharie as “a very likable person”.

“He is someone you can never hate. He is very humble and nice,” said Mr Mohd Nasir, who has known Capt Zaharie for more than 40 years.