Aras Amiri: Londoner returns to UK as she’s freed from Iranian prison after spying acquittal

·1-min read
“Cultural ambassador”: Aras Amiri had organised exhibitions in Iran for the British Council (Handout)
“Cultural ambassador”: Aras Amiri had organised exhibitions in Iran for the British Council (Handout)

A Londoner who was detained in Iran on spying charges has been acquitted and has returned home.

Aras Amiri, an Iranian national who resides in the UK, was arrested in March 2018 during a visit to her grandmother in Tehran after the regime accused her of spying.

She was sentenced to ten years in jail the following year.

Now Ms Amiri, an employee of the British Council’s London office, has been acquitted of all charges by Iran’s Supreme Court.

In a statement, the British Council said: “We have always refuted the original charges made against Aras.

“We are very proud of her work in our London office as an arts programme officer supporting a greater understanding and appreciation of Iranian culture in the UK.

“This was important work which reflects the value of cross-border cultural collaboration.”

In 2019, an Iranian judiciary spokesman had accused her of using contacts with arts and theatre groups to "influence and infiltrate" Iran at a cultural level.

The government spokesperson also claimed she confessed to working with British intelligence.

Speaking from Tehran, her lawyer Hojjat Kermani confirmed her acquittal to the Associated Press saying her conviction had been “against Shariah”.

Mr Kermani said she flew out of Tehran on Monday but had been free in recent months as she appealed a travel ban.

During her sentence, Ms Amiri had been held in the same section of the infamous Evin prison as Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe.

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