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article imageJailed US-Iranian hopes new prosecutor will release him

By AFP     Apr 30, 2019 in World

An Iranian-American serving a ten-year sentence for spying will request conditional release due to a change of Tehran's prosecutor, his lawyer said, quoted by state media Tuesday.

Dual national Siamak Namazi was convicted in October 2016 of "espionage and collaboration with the American government".

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison along with his 80-year-old father Baquer, a former official for the UN's agency for children, UNICEF.

Siamak Namazi has now served four years of his sentence, having been jailed ahead of his conviction.

"Given the time he has already served in prison, based on the law Siamak Namazi should be eligible for conditional release," lawyer Mehrdad Ghorbani told Iranian news agency IRNA.

Siamak Namazi has not been granted a single day out of prison in his four years behind bars, Ghorbani said, adding that his father Baquer is undergoing medical treatment outside prison due to illness and old age.

"Since the supreme court had rejected our request for a re-trial we were not hopeful that a conditional release request would be accepted. But now we will put in the request as the Tehran prosecutor has been replaced," he added.

Outgoing prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was appointed during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He was replaced Monday by Ali Alghasi-Mehr, the former prosecutor of Fars province.

In addition to the Namazis, at least four US citizens are currently detained in Iran on security grounds.

One is Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, a Princeton University researcher, who is serving a 10-year sentence for espionage.

And Michael White, 46, was last month sentenced to 10 years for insulting the country's supreme leader and posting a private picture, according to his lawyer.

Relations between Iran and the US deteriorated sharply last year when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a multilateral accord on Iran's nuclear programme and re-imposed sweeping sanctions.

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