Iran’s judiciary alleges activist has ties to Israeli spy agency

by Admin
Iran's judiciary alleges activist has ties to Israeli spy agency

Following the arrest of Hossein Shanbehzadeh, a literary editor, activist and former political prisoner, the prosecutor accused him of having “ties with high-ranking Mossad officers.”

Jalal Afaghi, the prosecutor in the northwestern city of Ardabil, made the accusation without directly naming Shanbehzadeh. Afaghi said the detained individual stands accused of “spying for high-ranking Mossad officers,” “insulting religious sanctities,” and “committing numerous acts of blasphemy.”

Without providing any evidence, the Ardabil prosecutor asserted that Shanbehzadeh had “contact with high-ranking Mossad officers via social media.”

After news broke of the editor’s arrest on Tuesday, his family voiced concern about the allegations leveled against him. The Shanbehzadeh family said Thursday in a statement they were concerned for his well-being because of the seriousness of the charges he is facing.

“Our primary concern is for Hossein’s health, as we are unaware of the arresting authority and his place of detention,” the family said.

His family said the civil activist is being denied access to a lawyer and contact with his family. Abbas Shanbehzadeh had previously voiced concerns about the “ramifications of these grave accusations” against his brother, Hossein.

The Ardabil prosecutor said that a legal case had been filed against this social media activist in Tehran’s prosecutor’s office, and based on judicial delegation, he was pursued in Ardabil province.

Hossein Shanbehzadeh was arrested for adding a single period in response to a note without punctuation on Ali Khamenei’s page on the social media platform X, where Shanbehzadeh uses a pseudonym. Users liked this simple period more than twice as much as the post by the leader of the Islamic Republic.

The Ardabil prosecutor alleged that Shanbehzadeh intended to leave the country by passing through Ardabil and Bostanabad and ultimately reaching Urmia, which is the largest city in West Azerbaijan Province. This is despite the fact that Shanbehzadeh had shared details of his trip to Ardabil, including articles and photos, on his X social media account before his arrest.

Shanbehzadeh is known for writing about social and literary topics, and sharing some of his experiences from the time he spent in prison, including being flogged.

In recent months, the Islamic Republic of Iran has further intensified its pressure on civil and political activists.

Earlier, Pouran Nazemi, a human rights activist in Iran, shared with Voice of America the escalating pressure imposed by the Islamic Republic on the families of victims, prisoners, and political and civil activists.

She said the government shows no inclination toward reform or withdrawal. Nazemi said the security pressures exerted by the Islamic Republic on activists — regardless of whether they are environmental, civil, or political activists — have reached unprecedented levels.

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