Russian Embassy: Detained Russian journalist freed by Iran

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Iran has freed a Russian journalist, Yulia Yuzik, who had been detained last week, the Russian embassy in Tehran said on social media on Thursday.

“As a result of joint efforts of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Tehran, the Iranian side made a decision on the release of Russian citizen Yulia Yuzik,” it said.

According to the embassy, Yuzik flew back to Moscow on Thursday morning.

Media reports had earlier said that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested the Russian journalist in Tehran on October 4 on charges of cooperating with Israeli intelligence. However, the Students News Agency ISNA quoted Iran’s government spokesman on October 7 as saying that Yuzik was not charged with spying but a visa violation and her case is under a “quick review”

Russia’s foreign ministry had summoned the Iranian ambassador regarding Yuzik's detention, reported the Russian news agency RIA. Russia’s Embassy in Tehran had previously said that it was aware of Yuzik’s arrest and that it is “dealing with the situation,” according to the Moscow Times.

Yuzik’s daughter had confirmed her mother’s arrest on Facebook, saying that she has been arrested in “another country,” and added that her trial was scheduled for October 5.

Yulia worked as a reporter in Tehran a few years ago and had returned to Tehran on invitation, journalist and ex-husband of Yuzik Boris Voytsekhovskiy wrote on Facebook.

As soon as she arrived, the Iranian authorities confiscated her passport and told her that she can have it back when leaving, he added.

Later that same day, a number of IRGC agents broke into her hotel room and arrested her, wrote Voytsekhovskiy, adding that she is facing up to 10 years on charges of cooperating with Israeli intelligence.

Iran and Russia have had close relations since the start of the Syrian revolution in 2011, as they both heavily support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Several foreign nationals are currently under arrest in Iran.

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