British-Iranian dual national Alireza Akbari has been executed in Iran, according to state media.
Earlier this week, Akbari’s family said he was told to come to his prison for a ‘final visit’ and was placed in solitary confinement, as Britain reiterated its call on Tehran not to carry out the execution.
“Iran must end the execution of British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari and release him immediately,” UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tweeted this week.
“This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has complete disregard for human life.”
But early Saturday, state media reported that they had executed Akbari despite international outcry.
Akbari, who once served in Iran’s Defense Ministry, had been accused of espionage, an allegation he denied. The Associated Press said Iran’s Mizan news agency, which is associated with the country’s judiciary, said he had been hanged.
There was no immediate reaction from Akbar’s family. Earlier this week, his wife, Maryam, told the BBC she had been asked to pay a “last visit” to her husband, as the family prepared for what could happen.
There was no independent confirmation that the execution had taken place. However, there had been rumors that it could have taken place several days ago.
He didn’t say when it happened. However, there were rumors that he was executed a few days ago.
Iran had accused Akbari, without providing evidence, of being a spy for the British intelligence agency MI6.
He released a highly edited video of Akbari discussing the allegations that sounded like others that activists have described as forced confessions.
During the video, he was asked about the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was shot dead in 2020.
“They wanted to know the senior officials according to the major developments (…) for example he (the British agent) asked me if Fakhrizadeh could be involved in such and such a project and I said why not”, has Akbari said in the clip. .
On Friday, State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel criticized the impending execution.
“The charges against Ali Reza Akbari and his sentence of execution were politically motivated. His execution would be inadmissible,” she said.
“We are very disturbed by reports that Mr. Akbari was drugged, tortured in detention, interrogated for thousands of hours and coerced into making a false confession.”
Iran, whose relations with the West have steadily deteriorated since the United States withdrew from a joint nuclear deal, has been rocked in recent months by anti-government protests.
The protests were sparked following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by vice police in Tehran for allegedly breaking the country’s strict dress code. She collapsed in a detention center and died three days later in hospital.
In recent weeks, authorities have executed a number of suspected protesters, including a karate champion and a volunteer children’s trainer.