Iran convicts U.S. businessman on spying charge

Iran convicts U.S. businessman on spying charge

Iran convicted an American businessman on a spying charge and sentenced him to 10 years in prison weeks after the U.S. election. 

A family friend of Iranian-American Emad Shargi, 56, said he was called to court on Nov. 30, convicted of espionage without trial and sentenced to a decade in jail. The conviction came almost a year after an Iranian court acquitted Shargi, but officials continued to hold onto his Iranian and U.S. passports. 

Shagi’s family in a statement obtained by the network that they have not heard from him for more than six weeks.

Iranian and Farsi-language outlets had previously reported about Shagi’s conviction but did not include that he was a U.S. citizen. He was not immediately taken into custody until his arrest on Dec. 6, NBC News reported, citing Iranian media.  

Shargi, who was born in Iran and educated in the U.S., had moved back to Iran with his wife in 2016. The family friend said Shargi had no history or interest in political activity. 

He was first arrested in April 2018 and imprisoned until December 2018 after being released on bail. The family friend told NBC News that during his imprisonment he was interrogated and blindfolded and put in a room’s corner. 

Iranian Judge Abolqasem Salavati, who the U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned, handled Shargi’s November conviction and sentencing.

Shargi is the fourth Iranian-American to be detained in Iran, in addition to Siamak Namazi, who has been in jail since 2015, his father Baquer, who is on medical furlough, and Morad Tahbaz, an environmental activist.

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