Iran Sentences British Man to Nine Years Jail for Visiting Israel, Promoting Homosexuality

Iranians wearing masks walk past a mural displaying their national flag in Tehran on March
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

Iran handed a nine-year jail sentence to a British-Iranian anthropologist for studying child marriage and female genital mutilation and ordered him to pay a fine of over $700,000 in cash, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported Sunday.

Kameel Ahmady was sentenced by Iran’s Revolutionary Court on charges of cooperation with institutions seeking to topple Iran’s Islamic government, promoting homosexuality, cooperating with hostile media, visiting Israel as a reporter for the BBC, and engaging in “subversive” research.

Ahmady was detained in August 2019 on suspicion of being affiliated with institutes that have ties with foreign intelligence services but was released on bail three months later.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said Ahmady had been a target for his work “on politically sensitive topics including child marriage, LGBTQ issues and female genital mutilation.”

Ahmady said on Twitter he had been denied access to a lawyer.

“Contrary to all…hope for a fair trial, I was sentenced after being denied access to a lawyer during 100 days of detention and extrajudicial interrogations, and after two unprofessional trial sessions full of judicial violations,” Ahmady tweeted.

Travel to Israel and homosexuality are both illegal in Iran, with the first carrying a sentence of up to five years while the second carries a death sentence if violators are found to have had sexual intercourse.

Iran is holding another British-Iranian national, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, on charges of espionage and plotting to overthrow the regime. Dual citizenship is not recognized in Iran.

Meanwhile, an Iranian teenager Sahar Tabar has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for photoshopping her appearance on Instagram to look like a zombie.

President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Obama-led nuclear agreement with Iran and imposed sanctions, crippling Tehran’s economy.

Iran recently warned the remaining European partners that will not abide by its side of the deal if they cannot guarantee that it will be allowed to sell crude oil on the global market. Joe Biden has already committed to reentering the deal.

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