Iran

Iran’s Judiciary Chief: More Spies Using Environmental NGOs for Cover

 

Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani said the intelligence services of enemy states are increasingly using environmentalists to cover up their spying operations in Iran.

“In recent events, everyone saw that certain people gathered intelligence in disguise of special covers. Today, spying under the cover of civil activities has grown common. Intelligence has been collected for foreigners under the cover of support for environment and everyone has observed that the Judiciary has stood up like a dam against them and therefore, different types of attacks and allegations are raised against it,” Amoli Larijani said, addressing the judiciary officials in Tehran on Monday.

He cautioned of attempts by the West, specially the US and its regional allies, to infiltrate in the country, and said, “People should know that the danger of infiltration is very high and today the Judiciary is highly sensitive to the issue.”

His remarks came after Kavous Seyed Emami, one of the founders of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Iran’s most prominent nongovernmental organization focused on the environment, was arrested along with six associates in January.

After confession to spying, he killed himself in prison last week.

Member of the Iranian parliament’s Presiding Board Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani confirmed last Tuesday that he and a number of other legislators were allowed to watch the footage of suicide in prison by Seyed Emami, an Iranian-Canadian national who had been held for espionage charges.

“The footage showed that Kavous Seyed Emami took off his shirt after walking in his cell for several times while he was fully anxious and then turned his shirt around his neck like a rope, tied it several times and pulled it,” Amirabadi Farahani told FNA.

“Then he went to the toilet, where his entrance has been captured on the (cctv) camera, but what he has done inside has not been recorded because on the basis of the rules, there is no camera surveillance and there is no camera recording of prisoners’ actions in there,” he added.

Amirabadi Farahani explained that after coming out of the toilet, Seyed Emami attempted to break the camera or the lamp above his head by throwing something at it, adding that he then untied his shirt from around his neck, set the bed in a way that it looked as if someone is lying on the bed and then went to the WC again.

He noted that the time of the suicide is not clear as there is no camera surveillance inside the toilet, yet his actions and security forces’ accounts and explanations showed that he hanged himself after entering the toilet the second time.

“Based on the remarks of the authorities, Seyed Emami’s case entails different aspects and is complicated in issues related to spying and the people who have been arrested in relation to this case have confessed to their contacts with intelligence services outside the country and have admitted that they were monitoring moves and trafficking of individuals while implementing environmental projects in sensitive and vital regions and have had contacts with a number of foresters in this regard,” Amirabadi Farahani said.

He said that the case has extensive and detailed aspects and investigations still continue, adding that authorities have told the Iranian MPs that they have been running the investigation under the supervision of the Judiciary.

In relevant remarks, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi confirmed Seyed Emami’s suicide, and said, “He was one of the defendants in a spying case and unfortunately he committed suicide in prison since he knew that many had made confessions against him and because of his own confessions.”

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