An Austrian man has been jailed for seven and a half years in Iran after he was arrested last year for being accused of spying.
The man – identified only as Christian W., 26, – was sentenced by judges in the Iranian capital Tehran on Monday, 20th February.
The Austrian Foreign Ministry reported on the case a day later (21st February), saying: “He was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for alleged espionage, with two years of probation being waived in the case of good behaviour.”
Later, ministry officials summoned the Iranian ambassador in Vienna where they expressed their “unequivocal protest against the verdict”.
They claimed they have been in regular contact with Christian W.’s family since his arrest four months ago.
The Austrian ambassador in Iran was able to meet him during three prison visits after his arrest.
The ministry added: “We will continue to exhaust all possibilities to give him and all other imprisoned Austrian citizens all over the world the best possible consular support.”
Authorities claimed that his jailing was not related to the demonstrations concerning the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
Amini reportedly died under suspicious circumstances after being detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly on 16th September 2022.
At the time, the ministry said: “According to the Iranian authorities, he is accused of a crime unrelated to the demonstrations that have taken place continuously since the death of Mahsa Amini.”
Reports claimed that at least 17 Western passport-holders, mostly dual nationals including two Iranian-Austrians are detained in Iran.
Meanwhile, a German-Iranian journalist named Jamshid Sharmahd, 67, was sentenced to death on terrorism charges by the Tehran Revolutionary Court on Tuesday, 21st February.
Authorities claimed he masterminded a bombing of a mosque that killed 14 people in 2008.