Seven of Ten Iranian Jews Convicted of Espionage Submit Appeals
Seven of the 10 Iranian Jews sentenced to prison earlier this month after allegations of spying for Israel submitted appeals Wednesday, their chief defense lawyer told AFP.
"This morning, we submitted our requests for seven of the men, and will submit the appeal for Hamid Teflin, Farzad Kashi and Asher Zadmehr on Thursday," Ismail Nasseri said.
Earlier in the week, Nasseri said the Jews had been sentenced not for spying but for organizing "illegal groups" and "collaborating with a hostile state."
The revolutionary court in the southern city of Shiraz gave the 10 Jews on July 1st 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, usually on state television. Their lawyers protested that the confessions did not constitute proof, as they were not corroborated by evidence.
The Jews were accused of providing "military information," in particular about an air base at Shiraz, and carrying out "polls" among troops about a possible improvement of Iran-US relations, broken off 20 years ago.
On July 10th, the same court said it 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, leaving the case open - TEHRAN (AFP)
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