Ali Reza Akbari: Iran executes dual British-Iranian citizenship


Dual British-Iranian citizen He was executed by Iran on charges of espionage and corruption, a state media reported Saturday, in the latest in a series of executions by a regime grappling with corruption. Unprecedented protests across the country.

The Iranian official, Ali Reza Akbari, was executed on charges of committing “corruption on earth” crimes, according to the Mizan outlet affiliated with the Iranian judiciary. Accused of working as a spy for MI6, Britain’s intelligence agency, Akbari was reportedly paid more than $2 million in various currencies – €1.805m, £265,000 and $50,000 – Iranian state media reported on Saturday.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “horrified by the execution”. He added on Twitter: “This was a cruel and cowardly act by a barbaric regime that does not respect the human rights of its own people. My thoughts are with Alireza’s friends and family.”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Saturday afternoon that the British government intends to sanction Iran’s chief prosecutor, Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri, to underscore “our disgust at the execution of Ali Reza Akbari”.

The prosecutor is at the heart of Iran’s use of the death penalty. “We are holding the regime accountable for its appalling human rights abuses,” Cleverly said.

Iranian media reported that Akbari provided information to foreign officials about 178 Iranian figures, including Iran’s chief nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Fakhrizadeh was killed by a remote-controlled automatic gun fired from a car in 2020According to the state-run Fars news agency. Senior Iranian officials accused Israel of masterminding the plot at the time, without providing evidence.

The official Iranian News Agency (IRNA) reported that Akbari carried out his intelligence work through the veneer of a private company focused on research and commercial activities, working directly with research institutes in London that Iran claimed were headed by intelligence officials. IRNA also cited allegations that Akbari held meetings with MI6 intelligence officer and former British ambassador to Iran Richard Dalton.

Iran’s Supreme Court upheld Akbari’s death sentence after deeming it to be based on “documented evidence”, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency.

Mizan did not specify the date of the execution. Akbari’s death sentence was announced just days earlier, on January 11, after he was found guilty of spying for the United Kingdom. Akbari had denied the charges against him.

According to allegations published in Mizan on Wednesday, Akbari was arrested “a while ago”. The BBC reported that Akbari was arrested in 2019.

On this basis, and after filing an indictment against the accused, the file was referred to the court and sessions were held in the presence of the defendant’s lawyer, and based on the correct documents in this person’s file, he was sentenced to death on charges of espionage for the benefit of Mizan, said Mizan.

Akbari previously served as Iran’s deputy defense minister and was head of the Strategic Research Institute, as well as a member of the military organization that implemented the UN resolution that ended the Iran-Iraq war, according to Iranian reform outlet Shargh Daily. . And he served under Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who was in office from 1997 to 2005, according to the BBC.

Although Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, the execution of a person with British citizenship is likely to increase tensions between Tehran and Western democracies, which have been critical of the regime’s response to anti-government demonstrations that began in September last year.

Iran has Long among the world’s highest-profile executionersand Akbari is one of three individuals sentenced to death in the first weeks of 2023. Chaban, karate champion and volunteer children’s instructor, They were hanged last weekend After being found guilty of killing a member of the country’s Basij paramilitary force. Both allegedly took part in the protests that began after the death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, Mohsa Amini, while in the custody of the country’s morality police.

Amini’s death sparked mass demonstrations across the country against a regime often criticized as authoritarian and authoritarian.

A photo obtained by AFP outside Iran on Sept. 21, 2022, shows Iranian protesters taking to the streets of the capital, Tehran, during a protest by Mohseh Amini, days after she died in police custody.

Critics have accused Tehran of responding to the protests with excessive force — activist groups Human Rights and Iranian Human Rights say 481 protesters have been killed — and of using the country’s unfair justice system to intimidate potential protesters. UN Human Rights Coordinator Volker Türk alleged that Tehran was “weaponizing” criminal procedures to carry out “state-sanctioned killings” of protesters.

As many as 41 other protesters have received death sentences in recent months, according to statements by Iranian officials and Iranian media reviewed by CNN and 1,500 deportations, but the number could be much higher.

Iranian state media reported that dozens of government agents, from security officials to officers of the paramilitary Basij force, have been killed in the unrest.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets since the death of Mohseh Amini in September.

Although Akbari’s execution was, ostensibly, unrelated to the recent protests, Britain’s foreign secretary, Cleverly, claimed the act was “politically motivated”. He said the Iranian chargé d’affaires would be summoned over the execution “to make clear our disgust at Iran’s actions”.

The execution of the British-Iranian Ali Reza Akbari is a barbaric act that deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Through this politically motivated act, the Iranian regime has once again demonstrated its callous disregard for human life,” Cleverly said on Twitter. “This will not stand unchallenged.”

The UK government urged Iran not to execute Akbari, and the Foreign Office said it would continue to provide for his family.

The French government also summoned Iran’s top diplomat in the country. French President Emmanuel Macron called Akbari’s execution an “abhorrent act of barbarism”.

“His name will be added to the long list of victims of repression and the death penalty in Iran,” Macron said in a tweet on Saturday.

In a reciprocal move, Tehran summoned the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Iran to protest the British government’s “recent acts of sabotage” and its “unconventional interference in Iran’s internal affairs”.

Amnesty International described Akbari’s execution as “particularly appalling” and an “abhorrent assault on the right to life”. The rights group alleged that Akbari said he was forcibly exposed to chemicals, held in solitary confinement for long periods and forced to make repeatedly recorded “confessions”.

Amnesty urged the UK government to “fully investigate” allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to “pursue all avenues to hold the Iranian authorities to account”.

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