British grandfather held in one of Iran's most notorious jails on spy charges 'to be released within the week'

Jul 27, 2016
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Kamal Foroughi, left, with his son Kamran
Kamal Foroughi, left, with his son Kamran

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

British grandfather who has spent more than five years in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons on espionage charges will be released within a week, his family has said. 

Iranian-born Kamal Foroughi, 76, had been working in Tehran as a consultant to the Malaysian oil company Petronas when he was arrested by plain clothes police in 2011.

He was sentenced to eight years in Evin prison for spying, although the evidence against him has not been made public. 

In a statement to supporters on Tuesday,his son Kamran Foroughi, 41, said: “We have just had some great news. 76-year-old Grandpa Kamal’s lawyer visited him last Saturday and told him some news from the Judiciary and Prosecutors’ Office that all the relevant parties have agreed and signed for his release.”

His family has applied for his release more than 50 times, but say they were quietly optimistic this time as it was the first time they received an official reply. 

“Part of me is continually sceptical until something happens – I’ll believe it when I see it,” Kamiran told the i website. “If he is released, it would be unbelievably good news. We’ve been hoping and praying for this for many years.

“We’re trying to be level-headed and cautious and getting back to our daily lives, but this has taken over the family’s emotions for many years now, so it would be an extremely pleasant shock if it happened. It would be difficult to believe that it had come to an end.”

Mr Forough’s family have been concerned about his health, and have worried he would die in prison. 

Britain has raised his case several times with Iran, with whom it established full diplomatic relations last year following the nuclear deal. 

Mr Foroughi, who came to Britain in the 1970s, had the time of his arrest, holds both an Iranian and British passport. 

Iran does not recognise dual nationality and so has treated Mr Foroughi as an Iranian citizen. As such, British diplomats have been refused consular access to him in prison. 

It is not known whether he will be allowed to return to the UK as released prisoners are often subject to travel bans. 

Iran is currently holding several British nationals, including mother and aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been accused of being a spy. 

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