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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 7 March 2021

Iran jails British-Iranian Kurd Kameel Ahmady for subversive research

Anthropologist studies issues such as child marriage and was first detained in August 2019

Kameel Ahmady was first detained in 2019. EPA
Kameel Ahmady was first detained in 2019. EPA

An Iranian court sentenced a British-Iranian anthropologist to nine years in prison for conducting subversive research work, the semi-official news agency Tasnim said on Sunday.

Kameel Ahmady, an ethnic Kurd, was also fined $727,000, which Iranian authorities said he received for research from institutions accused of seeking to topple Iran's Islamic government.

Mr Ahmady was sentenced by Iran’s Revolutionary Court on charges of co-operation with European embassies, visiting Israel as a BBC reporter, co-operation and communication with foreign and hostile media, and infiltration aimed at changing the law.

He was convicted of sending false reports about the country to the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Iran. The report said Mr Ahmady has the right to appeal within 20 days.

He researched controversial issues such as child marriage and female genital mutilation in Iran, and was first detained in August 2019 but released on bail three months later, human rights groups say. There was no immediate official confirmation of the sentence.

"Ahmady was accused of acquiring illicit property from his co-operation in implementing subversive institutions' projects in the country," Tasnim said.

It was not immediately clear if Mr Ahmady is still free after the hearing or in custody. After his initial arrest, his wife, Shafagh Rahmani, told the Centre for Human Rights in Iran that his work was independent and published with government approval.

Rights activists accuse Iran of arresting dozens of dual citizens to try to win concessions from other countries.

British-Iranian Kameel Ahmady (left) and his wife Shafaq Rahmani. EPA
British-Iranian Kameel Ahmady (left) and his wife Shafaq Rahmani. EPA

Iran holds another British-Iranian citizen, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has already served most of her five-year sentence on espionage charges.

Anoosheh Ashoori, a retired engineer, was detained in August 2017 while visiting his mother and accused of passing intelligence to Israel.

His legal team said this weekend that they were worried for his life amid the coronavirus outbreak atEvin jail in Tehran.

Updated: December 16, 2020 01:58 PM

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