Iran sentences two dual nationals to over 10 years in prison each -lawyer

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DUBAI (Reuters) -An Iranian Revolutionary Court has sentenced two dual nationals, German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi and British-Iranian Mehran Raouf, to more than 10 years in prison, each on national security charges, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners in recent years, mostly on espionage and security-related charges.

They have accused the Islamic Republic of trying to win concessions from other countries through arrests on security charges that may have been trumped up. Tehran, which does not recognise dual nationality, say such arrests are based on its criminal code and denies holding people for political reasons.

In a Twitter post, the two defendants' lawyer Mostafa Nili said: "Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Ms. #Nahid_Taghavi and Mr. #Mehran_Raouf to 10 years in prison for participating in the management of an illegal group and to eight months in prison for propaganda activities against the regime."

The Islamic Republic's judiciary has yet to report the sentences. But Taghavi's daughter Mariam Claren tweeted a confirmation of her sentence. Nili did not say whether Taghavi and Raouf had entered pleas in response to the charges.

Taghavi, 66, a human rights activist who lives in Germany but retained an apartment in Tehran, was arrested there in October 2020 while on a visit. Her trial began on April 28, according to Claren and human rights groups.

"My mother was allowed to see her brothers. They hugged her. Her first hug after almost 7 months," Claren tweeted on April 28.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman said during a regular news conference in Berlin on Wednesday that Germany could not extend consular assistance to Taghavi as she was on trial in her home country.

Raouf, a 64-year-old labour rights activist who lived between Iran and Britain, was arrested at his residence in Tehran on Oct. 16 last year by the Revolutionary Guards, according to Amnesty International.

Amnesty said in February that Raouf was being held in "prolonged solitary confinement, in violation of the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment".

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai with additional reporting by Alexander Ratz in BerlinEditing by Mark Heinrich)

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