An Iranian-American facing charges of espionage in Iran has been arrested while trying to leave the region.
“The defendant had been free on bail and was arrested as he tried to leave the country,” Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said on Tuesday during a news conference streamed live on a government website.
“This person faced charges from earlier in the area of spying and gathering information for foreign countries,” Esmaili said.
Iranian media outlets report that the man in question is a 56-year-old businessman identified as Emad Shargi. According to the report, the Iranian-American had been sentenced without a trial to 10 years in prison on treason charges after trying to flee the country.
“He was called to court one day in late November 2020 and simply shown a judgment finding him guilty, having never been presented any evidence, given an opportunity to respond or being put on trial,” a spokesman for the family said as quoted by AP. “He was not even allowed to keep a copy of the judgment.”
The dual national is among a handful of Iranian-Americans confirmed to be held by Iran, which has been accused by rights advocates of arresting dual nationals to try to gain concessions from other countries. Iran has repeatedly denied the allegations.