Iran charges two more in alleged espionage plot

[JURIST] Iran formally charged two more people in an alleged espionage conspiracy against the government that has left Dr. Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile] detained in the Evin Prison [BBC backgrounder] for three weeks, a spokesperson for the Iranian judiciary said Tuesday. The government for the first time confirmed the arrest and charging of urban planning consultant Kian Tajbakhsh, and confirmed that journalist Parnaz Azima had been released from detention but is not allowed to leave the country. It is believed that Tajbakhsh was actually arrested around May 11, according to a statement [text] from the Open Society Institute [foundation website].

Iran brought formal charges against Esfandiari [JURIST report] last week for an alleged plot "against the sovereignty of the country." She had been serving as director of the Middle East Program at the Washington, DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars [think tank website]. Iran confirmed Esfandiari's arrest [JURIST report] earlier this month following months of alleged interrogation after she was prevented from leaving the country. According to a statement [text] issued by the Center, Esfandiari has been unable to leave Iran since December 30, 2006, when masked men stopped Esfandiari's taxi on her way to the airport and took her baggage and travel documents. AP has more.

 

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