On July 13, federal authorities accused an Iranian intelligence official and three alleged members of the Iranian intelligence network of conspiring to kidnap an American journalist from New York.
According to the indictment filed in Manhattan Federal Court, the kidnapping conspiracy was part of a wider effort to lure three Canadians and a British citizen to Iran.
The indictment did not identify the New York reporter, but he was described as a Brooklyn resident, journalist, and human rights activist. He has drawn attention to Iran’s human rights violations.
The four defendants accused in the kidnapping conspiracy “surveilled and planned to kidnap an Iranian-American citizen who criticized the regime’s tyranny, and forcibly took their targeted victims to Iran, where the fate of the victims is uncertain at best. “The U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
“Among the most precious freedoms in this country, there is the right to speak freely without worrying about government reprisals. American citizens living in the United States must be able to advocate for human rights and not be targeted by foreign intelligence agents.”
The authorities identified the Iranian intelligence officer as Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani. If convicted, the other three defendants and him may face life imprisonment.
“Everyone in the United States must be free from harassment, threats, and personal injury from foreign powers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney General Marklesco. “Through this prosecution, we exposed such a vicious conspiracy to endanger American citizens who are exercising the rights of the First Amendment.”
William Sweeney, director of the Office of the FBI in New York, pointed out that the indictment sounds a bit like “some far-fetched film plot.”
“We accused a group supported by the Iranian government of conspiring to kidnap an American journalist on our land and forcibly send her back to Iran. It is not within our surveillance area,” Lesco said.
Farahani hired private investigators to monitor Brooklyn reporters and their families. Surveillance includes real-time high-definition video of the reporter’s house.
The indictment stated that the Iranian government tried to lure the reporter to a third country in 2018 for arrest, and even provided funds to the reporter’s relatives to try to make it possible. According to the indictment, the relatives rejected the proposal.
Authorities said that Iranian intelligence agencies had previously lured other Iranian dissidents from France and the United States to arrest and imprison critics of the Iranian regime, and publicly claimed responsibility for the arrests.
Like the indictment, they pointed out that the electronic device Farahani used contained a photo of a New York reporter and two other people. According to the indictment, these individuals were captured by Iranian intelligence authorities. One was later executed and the other was imprisoned.
The others accused of participating in the kidnapping were identified as 42-year-old Mahmoud Khazein; Kiya Sadeghi, 35-year-old; and 45-year-old Omid Noori, all from Iran.
According to the indictment, Sadji studied a service to provide military speedboats that can be evacuated from New York at sea and eventually reach Venezuela, which is managed by a de facto government that has friendly relations with Iran.
According to the indictment, Khazein studied travel routes from the reporter’s residence to the Brooklyn waterfront community and the location of the reporter’s residence relative to Venezuela and Tehran.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times