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Iran sentences Iranian-American to prison on spying charges

Published: Updated:

An Iranian-American has been sentenced by Iran to 10 years in prison on spying charges, despite his family alleging he never had a trial or an opportunity to defend himself, becoming the latest dual national held in the country amid tensions with the West.

A family spokesman confirmed the sentencing of Emad Shargi. Iran’s judiciary acknowledged the sentence without naming him or saying how many years in prison he’d face. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili alleged Shargi had been free on bail and re-arrested while trying to flee the country.

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While saying he had no information on the details of Shargi’s arrest, the family spokesman described him as initially being cleared of all charges in December 2019, only to discover he had been convicted in absentia later.

“He was called to court one day in late November 2020 and simply shown a judgment finding him guilty, having never been presented any evidence, given an opportunity to respond or being put on trial,” the spokesman said. “He was not even allowed to keep a copy of the judgment.”

The spokesman talked to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.

Iranian-American facing spying charges arrested while leaving Iran: Spokesman

Asked earlier about the case by the AP, the US State Department said it was “aware of the reports that Iran has detained another US citizen,” but declined comment further.

Esmaili, speaking to journalists Tuesday, said Shargi had been convicted on espionage charges and of providing military information to foreign countries. Esmaili did not elaborate.

It wasn’t immediately clear which court sentenced Shargi. However, previous cases involving those with Western ties accused of espionage have been heard in Iran’s Revolutionary Courts.

“It has been seven weeks since Mr. Shargi was taken into custody,” the spokesman said. “He is being held incommunicado in an unknown location. His family is incredibly worried about his health and welfare.”

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