European tourists get 18 months in Iranian jail

24th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

TEHRAN, Jan 24, 2006 (AFP) - An Iranian court has jailed a French skipper and his German client for 18 months for illegally entering the Islamic republic's Gulf waters, a case lawyer said Tuesday, as the government insisted the case was not linked to mounting tensions with Europe.

TEHRAN, Jan 24, 2006 (AFP) - An Iranian court has jailed a French skipper and his German client for 18 months for illegally entering the Islamic republic's Gulf waters, a case lawyer said Tuesday, as the government insisted the case was not linked to mounting tensions with Europe.

"The verdict has been reached. The verdict is imprisonment. They also face another accusation," judiciary spokesman and Justice Minister Jamal Karimi-Rad told reporters. The nature of the other accusation was not made clear.

The lawyer for German national Donald Klein confirmed the sentence.

"They haven't officially sent me the verdict yet, but I have been told that both of them have been given an 18-month jail term for illegally entering Iranian territorial waters," the lawyer, Abdolsamad Khoramshahi, told AFP.

"From the day when I officially receive the verdict, I have 20 days to appeal and I definitely intend to do so," he added.

Karimi-Rad said the case had no connection to the worsening nuclear stand-off with the Europeans, insisting that governments had to accept the fact that their nationals could be jailed by foreign courts.

"It is a judicial matter. It has nothing to do with such issues," Karimi-Rad said of the case. "Our citizens have also been convicted in some of these countries and we have not protested."

France and Germany, along with Britain and backed by the United States, are pushing for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council over its disputed nuclear programme.

Iran says it only wants to generate electricity, but there are fears its fuel cycle drive could hand the clerical regime the know-how to make nuclear weapons.

Klein's wife had told German public radio last week that he had been sentenced to an 18-month jail term and said she would attempt to appeal the ruling because her husband was innocent.

A court in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas held a preliminary hearing into the case on January 5, with the pair arguing they entered Iranian waters by accident.

The disappearance was first reported on November 29 by Klein's wife when he failed to return from a fishing trip. The German man had been on holiday in the United Arab Emirates, which lies across the Gulf from Iran.

The identity of the French national has not been revealed. The German and French embassies in Tehran refused to comment on the case.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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