Iran sentences ‘kidnapped’ German citizen to death

At the Iranian court Tuesday sentenced to death on terror charges an Iranian-German national who supporters say was kidnapped in the Persian Gulf and forcibly returned to Iran for a show trial.

Tehran’s Revolutionary Court found Jamshid Sharmahd guilty in connection with a fatal mosque bombing in 2008, court news agency Mizan Online reported.

In August 2020, Iranian authorities announced that Sharmahd, 67, who is also a German citizen and a US resident, was arrested in what they called a “complicated operation” without specifying how, where or when he was detained.

His family says he was abducted by Iranian security forces while in transit in Dubai and then taken under duress to Iran.

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“They kidnapped Jamshid Sharmahd and have now sentenced him to death after a sham trial,” said Mahmoud Amiri Moghaddam, head of the Norwegian-based Iran Human Rights Organization (IHR).

“Essentially, the Islamic Republic is threatening to kill the hostage,” he added.

Opposition MP and member of the German Foreign Affairs Committee Norbert Röttgen tweeted that “he was kidnapped by the regime in Iran and is now sentenced to death also for putting pressure on Germany.”

“The government must now unmistakably make it clear that it does not accept this arbitrary judgment and is fighting for its life,” he wrote on Twitter.

– “Accusation of my father” –

Iran accuses Sharmahd of leading the Tondar group which seeks to overthrow the Islamic Republic and has been outlawed by Iran as a terrorist organization.

Mizan said that Sharmahd planned to carry out 23 “terrorist” attacks, of which he succeeded in carrying out five, including the bombing of a mosque in the southern city of Shiraz on April 12, 2008, which killed 14 people and injured 300.

Prosecutors also accused Sharmahd of making contact with “FBI and CIA officers” and “trying to contact Israeli Mossad agents.”

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In 2009, Iran convicted and hanged three people for the Shiraz bombing, saying they were connected to a monarchist group and were under orders from a US-based “Iranian CIA agent” in an attempt to assassinate a senior official in Iran.

Sharmahd’s family ridiculed the allegations.

“All charges are fabricated. They make my father a scapegoat who is innocent,” his daughter Gazelle told AFP when his trial began last year.

The family says Sharmahd, a software developer, partnered with Tondar, also known as the Assembly of the Kingdom of Iran, and developed their website, the family says.

“Another Victim”

Mizan said Iranian-born Sharmahd could appeal his death sentence to the Supreme Court.

The verdict came a day after the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran over its response to protests sparked by the mid-September death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict regime. dress code for women.

The measures, targeting 32 individuals and two entities, are the bloc’s fifth round of sanctions against Iran in the past few months.

Activists accuse Iran of kidnapping opponents of the regime in an attempt to bring them to justice in Iran on charges that could result in them being sentenced to death.

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The family fears he faces the same fate as France-based Ruhollah Zam, who was executed in December 2020 after leaving Paris for Iraq in October 2020, where supporters say he was detained by Iran.

“Let’s not allow another person like Ruhollah Zam to be kidnapped and fettered by the Islamic Republic,” said United for Zam, a group formed in his memory.

Sharmahd is one of two dozen foreign nationals held by Iran, who activists and now Western governments call “hostages” held to extract concessions from the West.

Another foreigner facing hanging is Ahmadreza Jalali, a Swedish and Iranian citizen who has been in detention since 2016 and was sentenced to death in 2017 on charges of espionage, which his family vehemently denies.

In December, the judiciary announced that Iranian-Swedish dissident Habib Chaab, who disappeared while visiting Turkey in October 2020, had been sentenced to death on terrorism charges.

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In mid-January, he executed Iranian-British citizen Alireza Akbari, a dual-citizen former Iranian official, after he was convicted of espionage.

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