United Kingdom probing reports of British-Iranian academic's arrest

Apr 27, 2018, 01:47
United Kingdom probing reports of British-Iranian academic's arrest

The CHRI, which describes itself as "an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization working to protect and promote human rights in Iran", said the scholar was first detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on April 15 while visiting Iran to attend an academic workshop, and remained under arrest 10 days later. He reportedly refused to post bail, saying he was innocent.

"Iran's continued arbitrary arrests of dual nationals without transparency and lack of due process is extremely concerning", said the Center for Human Rights in Iran's (CHRI's) Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.

In April 2017, Edalat was awarded the Imperial College of London's LICS 2017 Test-of-Time Award for a computer science paper he had co-authored with another academic.

Journalists and Iran watchers were surprised by Edalat's arrest, as he was known for campaigning against USA sanctions on Iran.

The CHRI reported that IRGC agents confiscated some of Edalat's belongings including his computers, CDs and notebooks.

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Edalat is the founder of the US-based Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), an advocacy group that strongly opposes foreign intervention in Iran.

In London, a Commonwealth and Foreign Office (FCO) spokesperson said United Kingdom government is looking into the matter.

According to media reports, there are at least two other British-Iranians in jail in Iran for reasons that have not been explained by Iranian authorities.

A spokesperson for Imperial College London, where Edalat has worked since 1989, said that the scholar was "a valued colleague" and that the university is "understandably concerned for his welfare".

Kamal Foroughi, a British-Iranian businessman, was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to eight years in prison on espionage charges.

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They are both eligible for release.

Earlier this year Iran also arrested Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian-American businessman who is believed to hold a United Kingdom passport, during a clampdown on environmentalists and academics.

"The arrest of Professor Edalat indicates that talks between Iran and Britain to sort out a host of outstanding issues may have hit a dead-end", he said.

A British-Iranian academic from Imperial College London has been arrested in Iran, the latest of dozens of dual nationals taken into custody by Tehran since the 2015 nuclear deal.

"The United States needs to approach this from a position of dealing with another sovereign government", said Zarif.

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