LONDON — A British cultural group mentioned on Wednesday that one in every of its staff from Iran had been acquitted of espionage prices by that nation’s Supreme Courtroom and was again in Britain after spending greater than three years in jail.
Whereas visiting her grandmother in Iran, the girl, Aras Amiri, was arrested in March 2018 together with different Iranians with British connections, in what was considered an try by the authorities to achieve leverage in an previous dispute with Britain over greater than $400 million in undelivered weaponry.
Ms. Amiri, an artwork scholar employed for 5 years by the British Council to facilitate “better appreciation of Iranian tradition within the U.Ok.,” is an Iranian citizen who had lived in Britain for about 10 years earlier than she was detained. Iran’s Supreme Courtroom acquitted her in August, the council mentioned, and she or he returned to Britain this week after the journey ban related together with her unique detention was lifted.
She had been sentenced to 10 years in jail in April 2019, a punishment introduced on state TV earlier than she or her lawyer had been knowledgeable, in response to a letter Ms. Amiri wrote in June 2019 from jail, which her cousin, Mohsen Omrani, despatched to the Middle for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based advocacy group.
In line with the letter, which was addressed to Ebrahim Raisi, then the judiciary chief and now president, Ms. Amiri mentioned that she had been imprisoned due to her affiliation with the British Council and that she had turned down an “specific invitation” to spy for Iran’s Intelligence Ministry.
In an interview with The Related Press, Ms. Amiri’s lawyer, Hojjat Kermani, mentioned that Iran’s Supreme Courtroom had decided that her earlier espionage conviction was “towards Shariah,” or Islamic regulation.
“We now have at all times refuted the unique prices made towards Aras,” the British Council mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday. “We’re very happy with her work in our London workplace as an arts program officer.”
Ms. Amiri was incarcerated in Evin Jail, north of Tehran. Earlier than her acquittal and return to Britain, Ms. Amiri had been launched on furlough in April 2020 over issues concerning the unfold of coronavirus.
The case underscored the Iranian authorities’ concentrating on of twin residents and Iranian residents with Western connections as bargaining chips in geopolitical disputes.
A British-Iranian nationwide, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a venture supervisor with the Thomson Reuters Basis, was sentenced to 5 years in jail in 2016 after she was accused of plotting to overthrow the federal government in Tehran. She was issued one other one-year sentence and journey ban in April, beneath new prices of conducting “propaganda actions” towards the Iranian authorities.
A number of international and twin nationals are held in Iranian prisons, together with Nahid Taghavi, a German-Iranian architect; Siamak Namazi, a businessman, and his father, Baquer Namazi, a former official with Unicef, each Iranian People; Dr. Ahmad Reza Jalali, a Swedish-Iranian doctor and researcher; and Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian-American environmentalist.
Farnaz Fassihi contributed reporting.