Iran convicts 4 on espionage charges

In mid-September, Iran charged three detained Australians with spying, after the reported arrest of a travel-blogging couple and an academic. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 01 October 2019

Iran convicts 4 on espionage charges

  • Gholamhossein Esmaili said four people were convicted on charges of spying for the United States or Britain

TEHRAN: Iran’s judiciary on Tuesday announced it had convicted four people on charges of spying for the United States or Britain, sentencing one of them to death.
“Last week, a person accused of espionage for an American (intelligence) service was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a press conference.
Esmaili did not name the accused but said the identity would be revealed if the verdict is confirmed by the supreme court.
The spokesman also did disclose the names of the other three, each sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Ali Nafariyeh and Mohammad-Ali Babapour were convicted of spying for the US and fined $55,000, the amount they were allegedly paid for collaborating with Washington.
Mohammad Amin-Nassab was found guilty of spying for Britain.
Tehran announced in July it had dismantled a CIA spy ring, arresting 17 suspects and sentencing some of them to death.
Iranian authorities said the arrests were carried out between March 2018 and March 2019.
US President Donald Trump dismissed the claim as “totally false.”
In mid-September, Iran charged three detained Australians with spying, after the reported arrest of a travel-blogging couple and an academic.


Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

Updated 13 November 2019

Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

  • Altan and the others deny the charges against them
  • On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing

ISTANBUL: Turkish police detained prominent journalist and author Ahmet Altan late on Tuesday, a week after he was released from prison in his retrial on coup-related charges, Istanbul police said.

Before his release last Monday, the 69-year-old had been in jail since his arrest in 2016, two months after an attempted coup which Ankara says was orchestrated by the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The journalist’s case has drawn criticism from human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies. They are concerned by the scale of a post-coup crackdown against suspected Gulen supporters under President Tayyip Erdogan.

Altan smiled and waved as he was driven away by counter-terror squad police officers after being taken from his home in Istanbul, video and photos published by Turkish media showed.

He was taken to Istanbul police headquarters after a hospital check-up, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Altan, his brother and other journalists were previously sentenced to life in jail for aiding Gulen’s network. Last week he was convicted again in a retrial, but released from jail given the time served.

Altan and the others deny the charges against them.

On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing, Anadolu reported.

Under last week’s verdict, Altan was sentenced to 10 years and six months in jail. Turkey’s high court had overruled the previous life sentences against him in July, sending the file back for re-trial.

Erdogan’s government has jailed more than 77,000 people pending trial since the failed putsch. Widespread arrests are still routine in a crackdown critics say demonstrates growing autocracy in Turkey.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, and his followers deny any involvement in the coup. Turkey has repeatedly called on the United States to extradite the cleric.

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