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Iran sentences British-Iranian researcher to 9 years prison for 'subversive' work

14.12.2020

Social researcher Kameel Ahmady has also been fined €600,000 on charges of trying to topple the Iranian regime. His research consisted of controversial topics such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

Iran sentenced British-Iranian researcher Kameel Ahmady to nine years in prison on Sunday, Iranian news agency Tasnim reported. 

The anthropologist and social researcher was convicted of conducting "subversive" research work. He was also fined €600,000 ($727,000), which, according to Iranian authorities, is the amount he allegedly received for his research by institutions accused of trying to toppled the Iranian regime.

On Twitter, Ahmady said he had been denied the right to a lawyer during his detention. "Contrary to all...hope for a fair trial, I was sentenced after being denied access to a lawyer during 100 days of detention and extrajudicial interrogations, and after two unprofessional trial sessions full of judicial violations," he tweeted. 

His lawyer Amir Raesian said on Twitter that they would be appealing against the ruling for the eight year imprisonment, and were still hopeful. The reason for the discrepancy in the duration of the prison sentence was not immediately clear. 

Controversial research

Ahmady researched issues such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) in Iran. He had previously been detained in 2019 for alleged links to institutes affiliated with foreign intelligence services, but was released on bail later. 

Ahmady's wife told the Center for Human Rights in Iran that his work had been published with the approval of the government. 

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The report by Tasnim said Ahmady had been charged with cooperating with European embassies for promoting homosexuality, visiting Israel, cooperation and communication with foreign and hostile media, infiltration, and sending false reports about the country to the United Nation’s special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

Under Iranian law, homosexuality and traveling to Israel is considered illegal. Iran also does not recognize dual citizenship. 

Iran has detained several dual nationals over the years. British Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of espionage.  

tg/aw (AP, Reuters)