Iran still weighing fate of European tourists

23rd January 2006, Comments 0 comments

TEHRAN, Jan 23, 2006 (AFP) - Iran has yet to issue a verdict in the case of a French skipper and his German client arrested after straying into the Islamic republic's Gulf waters, a government spokesman said Monday.

TEHRAN, Jan 23, 2006 (AFP) - Iran has yet to issue a verdict in the case of a French skipper and his German client arrested after straying into the Islamic republic's Gulf waters, a government spokesman said Monday.

"The investigation is going on and the court has not issued a verdict yet," Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA.

He was reacting to a report in Germany that the German national had been jailed for 18 months after a court in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas held a preliminary hearing into the case on January 5.

Neither the Iranian authorities nor the two men's governments have released their names, although the German has been identified in media reports as Donald Klein.

Klein's wife told German public radio last week about the 18-month jail term and said she would attempt to appeal the ruling because her husband was innocent. The pair have said they entered Iranian waters by accident.

Their 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 German foreign ministry declined to comment on the report until it had received a written copy of the verdict from Iran. But it confirmed that a sentence had been handed down to the man and that his wife had been able to speak to him by telephone last Tuesday.

French diplomats have also refused to comment on the case, which comes amid mounting tensions between Iran and the European powers.

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.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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