Iran sentences Iranian-American to prison on spying charges

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) β€” An Iranian-American has been sentenced to prison on spying charges, Iran’s judiciary reported Tuesday, the latest dual national held in the country amid tensions with the West.

Iran’s judiciary did not name the man sentenced, but said he had been free on bail and re-arrested while trying to flee the country. Many prisoners in Iran have been out on bail amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said the man had been convicted on espionage charges and of providing military information to foreign countries. Esmaili did not elaborate.

It wasn’t immediately clear where the man faced trial. However, previous cases involving those with Western ties accused of espionage have been heard in Iran’s Revolutionary Courts, often sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison.

Families of those detained in Iran have criticized Tehran over such trials, saying their loved ones are being held as negotiating chips with the West. They’ve described them as being tried in courts without being able to present evidence.

The United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has described such cases as part of β€œan emerging pattern involving the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of dual nationals.” Iran denies that and insists its courts remain separate from political interference.

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