The British Council for the Promotion of British Culture Abroad confirmed on Wednesday that Aras Amiri, one of its staff, had returned to the United Kingdom after being released in 2019 after being convicted of espionage in Iran.
“We are pleased to confirm that Aras Amiri, an employee of the British Council and an Iranian citizen, has been acquitted of all charges by the Iranian Supreme Court following the successful appeal of his lawyer. He has been acquitted and has returned to the United Kingdom,” the agency said in a statement.
This network of British cultural institutions in 107 countries, with no physical representation in Iran, reported in May 2018 that Aras Amiri had been arrested. The Iranian student, who lives in the United Kingdom, was arrested while visiting his family in Iran. He was sentenced in May 2019 by the Iranian judiciary to 10 years in prison for “spying” for the benefit of the United Kingdom. Theresa May, the then British Prime Minister, described the condemnation as “very shocking”. In August 2019, the Tehran Court of Appeal upheld the sentence.
“We have always denied the initial allegations against Aras,” the British Council said on Wednesday, welcoming his release last August.
In recent years, Iranian-British citizens have been imprisoned in Iran for not recognizing dual citizenship. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in 2016 and sentenced in 2009 to five years in prison for participating in anti-government protests, which he denies. One month after serving his sentence, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced on April 26, 2021 to one year in prison and a one-year ban from leaving Iran. Her husband, Richard Radcliffe, is actively campaigning for her release, drawing the resemblance between the two women who were detained together in Evin’s prison. In an article published in The Guardian newspaper in 2019, he noted that they were both “arrested for visiting family on vacation, both targeted for contacts with the United Kingdom” and both were targeted on “infamous espionage charges”.
The British Council for the Promotion of British Culture Abroad confirmed on Wednesday that Aras Amiri, one of its employees, had returned to the United Kingdom after being released in 2019 after being convicted of spying in Iran. . “We are pleased to announce that Aras Amiri, a British Council employee and Iranian citizen, has been released on bail.
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