Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Iran close to determining fate of American prisoners

Iranian officials have announced the discovery of new evidence concerning two Iranian-Americans currently being held on charges of seeking to destabilize the state, The Washington Post reported today.

In a judicial statement last month, officials hinted at an end to the “crimes against national security” investigations of Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh. “We have received fresh evidence. Fresh investigations have started based on this evidence,” judiciary spokesperson, Alireza Jamshidi, said.

“After hundreds of hours of interrogation and so-called investigation, what is left to investigate. The aim of the security authorities is clearly to coerce a false confession; or, out of sheer meanness, they intend to keep Haleh in Evin Prison as long as they can. It is astonishing that Iran's political leaders allow this charade to continue,” Shaul Bakhash of George Mason University said.

Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh have been in Iranian custody since early May and have been denied legal representation. Two other Iranian-Americans, Ali Shakeri and Parnaz Azima, are also being detained on suspicion of espionage.

The U.S. State Department continues to call for the release of the captives. “There is absolutely no basis for any prosecution of these people. They pose no threat to the Iranian regime,” said spokesman Tom Casey. “These people should not be subject to any arrest, prosecution, or detention and should be released immediately.”

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