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Iran ‘frees German reporters’

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Iran ‘frees German reporters’

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Iran has freed two German reporters who were held last year, state media says.
Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch were arrested in October while interviewing the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
Reports say German FM Guido Westerwelle has arrived in Tehran.
Earlier Iranian reports said a 20-month jail term imposed on the journalists had been commuted to a fine, clearing the way for their release.
Quoting a judiciary statement, Isna agency said trial hearings were held for the two men and that, after “examining the accusation of acting against national security, they were sentenced to a 20-month jail term”.
It added: “But because of their special situation and it is clear that they were used by one of the others accused in this case, it was felt that they deserved Islamic compassion and commuting of the sentence… from 20 months in prison to 500 million rials (about $50,000, £31,000) fine for each.”
The reporters, who work for Germany’s Bild newspaper, were found guilty of committing acts against Iran’s national security.
A German foreign ministry spokesman said the men were being looked after by consular officials in Tabriz, the north-western city where they were originally detained after meeting Sajjad Ghaderzadeh. Later reports said they had arrived in Tehran.
Tehran said the Germans entered the country illegally, on tourist visas, and did not obtain the accreditation required for journalists. (BBC)