Iranian-American scholar could get bail: judiciary source

[JURIST] Lawyers for detained Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile; JURIST news archive] have been informed that she will be released from custody once $320,000 in bail has been paid, an anonymous source from the Iranian judiciary said Tuesday. Though one of Esfandiari's lawyers told Reuters that he has not yet been informed that Esfandiari has been granted bail, the source said that Esfandiari could be released as early as Tuesday evening. Esfandiari, director of the DC-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Middle East program, has been detained since May [WWC timeline, DOC] and is accused of being involved in an alleged plot "against the sovereignty of the country." August 15 marked her 100th day in Iranian custody [WWC press release, DOC].

Also detained is Open Society Institute consultant Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh [OSI press release]. The two scholars are alleged to have been involved in a plot against the government and prosecutors said earlier this month that they have completed their investigation [JURIST report] into the two detainees. Prosecutors in June expanded [JURIST report] their investigation into the alleged conspiracy after they said they found evidence supporting charges of endangering national security. In June, Iranian 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi [advocacy website, in Persian] accused the Iranian government of interfering in judicial affairs to prevent Esfandiari's release [JURIST report]. Ebadi has also accused the Iranian government of denying lawyers access to Esfandiari [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

10:38 AM ET - AP is reporting that an Iranian official has said that Esfandiari has now been released on bail.



 

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