American father and son sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison
Rolando Zenteno of CNN reports that Iranian-Americans Baquer Namazi and his son Siamak have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $4.8 million, according to Iran’s official news channel IRINN.
Iran officials say five people were convicted and sentenced for “cooperating with Iran’s enemies,” a government euphemism that usually implies cooperating with the United States (CNN).
The agreement was hailed by US President Barack Obama as a way to impede Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon (CNN).
The sentence comes after four US prisoners were released by Iran earlier this year as part of a US-Iran prisoner swap that granted clemency to seven Iranians indicted or imprisoned in the United States (CNN).
Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, Marine veteran Amir Hekmati and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini were three of the four freed in the swap (CNN).
Siamak Namazi is a Dubai-based businessman with dual US and Iranian citizenship. His father, Baquer, was detained in February 2016 (CNN).
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said the country does not recognize dual citizenship and that it “routinely harasses citizens and dual nationals with trumped up national security charges” (CNN).
The human rights group told CNN in September that it was aware of several dual nationals imprisoned in Iran when commenting on the five-year sentence of a British-Iranian woman whom Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accused of attempting to overthrow the government (CNN).
“We join recent calls by international organizations and UN human rights experts for the immediate release of all US citizens unjustly detained in Iran, including Siamak and Baquer Namazi, so that they can return to their families,” the statement read (CNN).
Baquer Namazi has a US passport with his birthplace listed as Iraq. According to the US State Department, he is a former UNICEF employee whose health is being reported as “declining” (CNN). Iranian officials were not clear who has to pay the $4.8 million fine but said the amount is what the convicted “had received from the US for their mission in Iran.”
Under Iranian law, the convicted have 21 days to appeal their sentence (CNN).
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