Lawyer: Iranian Jews to Appeal their Verdicts Next Week
Ten Iranian Jews who received prison sentences earlier this month over involvement in an alleged Israeli espionage ring, will submit an appeal against their sentences next week, their chief defense lawyer told AFP Sunday.
"We will hand in our appeal to the court on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest," said Nasseri, adding that the Shiraz revolutionary court in southern Iran had not sentenced his clients as spies.
He said the Jews had received sentences for having organized "illegal groups," and "collaborating with a hostile state."
The Shiraz court on July 1st sentenced the 10 Jews to sentences ranging from four to 13 years in prison. Two Muslims received sentences of two years, while three other Jews and two Muslims were acquitted.
Eight of the Jews, who were arrested in March 1999, "confessed" to the charges against them, mostly on television, leading their lawyers to protest that this did not constitute proof, since the confessions were not corroborated.
The Jews were accused of providing "military information," in particular about an air base at Shiraz, or carrying out "polls" among troops about a possible improvement of Iran-US relations, broken off 20 years ago.
On July 10th, the same court issued an international arrest warrant for a man it said was the founder of an alleged Israeli espionage ring.
The official IRNA news agency named the man as Isaac Belanth, whom it described as a former teacher who fled Iran for the United States in 1991.
The Shiraz court verdict against the 10 Jews had described Belanth, whom it identified only by his first name, as the founder of the network, clearly leaving the case open - TEHRAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)