House arrest awaits Iran reporter
After more than a month in Italian custody, accredited Iranian journalist Hamid Masouminejad will be moved from jail to house arrest pending his appeal.
Majid Jafarzadeh, a senior aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Italian officials had agreed to release Masouminejad on bail and place him under house arrest pending his trial.
He added that a Paris-based Iranian lawyer was working with an Italian legal representative on Masouminejad’s case, seeking to secure his release.
A senior correspondent for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) in Rome, Masouminejad was arrested on March 3, 2010 on charges of illegal arms trafficking.
The IRIB reporter, however, has dismissed the accusation in a meeting with the Italian prosecutor.
Last week, Rome’s Ambassador to Tehran Alberto Bradanini was summoned to the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) to explain the Italian government’s reasons for keeping Masouminejad and another Iranian national, Ali Damirchiloo, in custody without offering legal justification.
Bradanini told Iranian lawmakers that the Berlusconi government had been unaware of the arrests as the Italian Judiciary “is an independent body and has, therefore, acted autonomously on the matter”.
His comments, however, failed to convince Iranian Parliamentarians, who view the arrests as ‘a Mafia-style tactic’ to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.