Iranian-American sentenced to prison, allegedly without a trial

Iran has imprisoned a number of dual citizens of the United States and European countries on disputed charges.

al-monitor A placard with a portrait of French Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, imprisoned in Iran, is placed outside the City Hall in Paris on June 5, 2020. Adelkhah, a prominent anthropologist specializing in Shiite Islam, was arrested on June 5, 2019, and has been held behind bars ever since.  Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images.

Jan 26, 2021

An Iranian American man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on spying charges, even though his family says his trial took place without him.

The family said Emad Shargi was cleared of the charges in December 2019, but then was informed he was guilty by a court in November, The Associated Press reported.

A judicial official told the news agency that Shargi was free on bail and was arrested while leaving the country for providing military information to other countries. His family, however, told the AP he was convicted without ever having attended a trial following the December 2019 ruling.

The incident is the latest in a series of controversial Iranian arrests of dual citizens in recent years. The scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, a citizen of Iran and Sweden, is another high-profile prisoner. In December, Amnesty International told Al-Monitor that his execution on vague “corruption on earth” charges had been put on hold. There has been no news on his case since then.

The Iranian British citizen Nazanian Zaghari-Ratcliffe and the Iranian French citizen Fariba Adelkhah are also in Iranian prisons. European Union governments protested their treatment to Iranian diplomats in September.

In November, the Australian British professor Kylie Moore-Gilbert was released from an Iranian prison. She was convicted of espionage, but denied the charges.

Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, which complicates countries’ ability to help their citizens imprisoned there.

In June, the US government, with Swiss assistance, helped secure the release of US Navy veteran Michael White in a prisoner exchange. Among dual citizens, Iranian American businessmen Siamak Namazi remains in prison while his father Baquer Namazi is under house arrest.

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