Germans in Iran 'under psychological pressure': activist

16th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two Germans accused of espionage in Iran for trying to interview the son of a woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery are under "psychological pressure," an activist told AFP Tuesday.

The pair appeared on state television on Monday and accused Mina Ahadi, an Iranian human rights activist living in exile in Germany, of tricking them into going to Iran, saying she had gained valuable publicity from the case.

Ahadi hit back, telling AFP: "I did not send them to Iran. I spoke to them about the risks and helped them make contacts."

"I do not think the journalists were mistreated physically. That's what I suspect. But they were certainly under psychological pressure.

"They have been in prison for a month ... no contact with their family, no phone contact, only once have German diplomats visited these journalists. They are under pressure," she added.

Nevertheless, she said she did not believe authorities in Tehran had beaten the two men.

Ahadi, founder of the International Committee against Execution and Stoning, has launched a global campaign to halt the impending execution of the woman, Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, by stoning.

"I did not have any information about this case, but Ms Ahadi knew about it. She sent me to Iran and has gained propaganda value from my arrest. I will sue Ms Ahadi when I am back in Germany," one of the detainees was quoted as saying.

"I accept that I made a mistake. Since I had no information on the case, I was tricked by Ms Ahadi," the other German was quoted as saying.

The two Germans, who were arrested in Tabriz on October 10, have not been identified.

It was unclear where the footage, in which the two men were shown close-up and looking healthy, had been shot.

"I am absolutely not offended by what they said. I understand the situation there," Ahadi said.

© 2010 AFP

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