Two Ger­mans de­tained in Iran meet fam­ily mem­bers

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

TEHRAN: Two de­tained Ger­man jour­nal­ists were al­lowed to meet their fam­i­lies, nearly three months af­ter they were ar­rested while cov­er­ing the highly pub­li­cized case of an Ira­nian woman sen­tenced to death by ston­ing for adul­tery, Ira­nian and Ger­man of­fi­cials said Tues­day.

The meet­ing took place Mon­day night in the north­west­ern city of Tabriz, where the two Ger­mans are be­ing held, For­eign Min­istry spokesman Ramin Mehman­parast told re­porters in Tehran. He and Ger­man of­fi­cials did not say whether the meet­ing was tak­ing place in the prison or else­where.

A Ger­man For­eign Of­fice spokesman said the meet­ing was " still tak­ing place" Tues­day morn­ing, with­out elab­o­rat­ing. The spokesman spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity in line with depart­ment pol­icy.

The two Ger­mans have been held since early Oc­to­ber af­ter be­ing ar­rested while in­ter­view­ing the son and lawyer of 43-year-old Sakineh Mo­ham­madi Ash­tiani, sen­tenced to death by ston­ing for adul­tery. The two were work­ing as re­porter and pho­tog­ra­pher for the mass-cir­cu­la­tion tabloid Bild am Son­ntag. The son and lawyer were also ar­rested at the same time.

Ira­nian of­fi­cials claim the Ger­mans ad­mit­ted vi­o­lat­ing Ira­nian laws for­bid­ding those en­ter­ing the coun­try on tourist visas to work as jour­nal­ists. Iran's ju­di­ciary re­jected ear­lier claims by lo­cal of­fi­cials who ac­cused the two of es­pi­onage, and no spy charges have been filed against them.

Nei­ther Ira­nian nor Ger­man au­thor­i­ties have so far iden­ti­fied the two jour­nal­ists. But late Mon­day, Iran's state Press TV showed a pass­port be­long­ing to a Mar­cus Al­fred Ru­dolf Hell­wig and iden­ti­fied the sec­ond jour­nal­ist as Jens An­dreas Koch.

Bild on Tues­day con­firmed the meet­ing be­tween the jour­nal­ists and two fam­ily mem­bers had taken place. In a re­port on its web­site, the daily also quoted Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Guido Wester­welle as thank­ing his Ira­nian coun­ter­part Ali Ak­bar Salehi "for his sup­port" in ar­rang­ing the meet­ing.

How­ever, the Ger­man for­eign min­is­ter added that "the govern­ment con­tin­ues to press for a quick re­turn of our two com­pa­tri­ots to Ger­many," Bild re­ported. -Ap

KUWAIT CITY: Mus­salem al-Bar­rak (L) and other law­mak­ers protest the pres­ence of se­cu­rity forces out­side the par­lia­ment build­ing, ahead of a ques­tion­ing ses­sion of Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Nasser al-Mo­ham­mad al-Sabah. -Reuters

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