Iran says German reporters are linked to “anti-evolutionary” network

October 12th, 2010 - 11:02 pm ICT by BNO News  

TEHRAN, IRAN (BNO NEWS) — While the German government seeks the release of two captured foreigners in Iran - who are believed to be German reporters - Iran says they are linked to an anti-revolutionary network, local media reported on Tuesday.

The two journalist had been interviewing the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, who has been sentenced to death by stoning, but Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast stated that they were linked to Iranian anti-revolutionary groups in Germany.

“They were arrested because they had a link to a foreign anti-revolution network and their case is under review,” Mehmanparast said, adding that the interview was facilitated through the group, which was based in Germany.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to secure their release. “We have a great interest in the two citizens being freed,” Merkel said. “The Foreign Ministry is doing everything within the range of our capabilities.”

The two German nationals had entered Tehran with tourist visas and not working visas as is required. The pair failed to produce any document that identified them as journalists.

“An investigation by official authorities showed these people are not journalists and they have been arrested for faking their journalistic status,” public prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie said.

It is believed that the pair was aided by the International Committee Against Stoning which arranged the meeting on Sunday afternoon at a lawyer’s office. The committee said on its website that Ashanti’s son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, and his lawyer, Houtan Kian, were arrested too.

Security Forces raided the lawyer’s office as the interview was under way. The four individuals were arrested as one of the German nationals was on the phone with Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson of the International Committee against Stoning and the call ended abruptly.

The committee has not been able to contact any of the detainees since and their whereabouts are unknown. Ahadi said that the Germans said they were working for the German Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Ashtiani, in 2006 was sentenced to death twice by two courts in two separate trials. The first sentence to death by hanging stemmed from her involvement in the murder of her husband in the northwestern city of Tabriz.

After this conviction, Ashtiani was then sentenced to death by hanging as she was later accused of being involved with two different men after her husband’s murder a year before. The process is ongoing.

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