Iran trial of Frenchman to open Thursday: report

4th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

TEHRAN, Jan 4 (AFP) - The trial of a German and a Frenchman arrested during a fishing trip off the coast of southern Iran is to open Thursday in the port city of Bandar Abbas, the student news agency ISNA reported Wednesday.

TEHRAN, Jan 4 (AFP) - The trial of a German and a Frenchman arrested during a fishing trip off the coast of southern Iran is to open Thursday in the port city of Bandar Abbas, the student news agency ISNA reported Wednesday.

"Tomorrow (Thursday) the French and German nationals will go to court in Bandar Abbas on the charge of illegally penetrating Iranian territorial waters," the agency added.

A judiciary official in the southern province of Hormuzgan told AFP earlier that "the German man, who is represented by an Iranian lawyer, will go on trial Thursday for illegally entering Iran's territorial waters".

But the official, who asked to remain anonymous, did not elaborate if the French national would appear in court along with the German.

Germany's foreign ministry said Tuesday that the 52-year-old German would be represented by an Iranian lawyer from Bandar Abbas, "who knows this kind of case well, having defended other foreigners".

The pair, who were arrested more than a month ago, stand accused of illegally entering Iranian waters.

The German and the Frenchman were on holiday in the United Arab Emirates across the Gulf when they were reported missing on November 29 by the German's wife, who was also holidaying with them.

The German foreign ministry in late December confirmed an initial report of the men's detention in the German regional press.

Reports said they had hired a boat and sailed to an island near the Straits of Hormuz, the entrance to the Gulf from the Indian Ocean.

A source close to the case in Paris said that "the French skipper had not been aware that they were entering Iranian territorial waters or a prohibited zone".

The German foreign ministry spokesman said the German was under arrest in a private house and was "being treated well".

"A representative of the German embassy in Tehran will be present at the opening of the trial," he added.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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