Saudi-led coalition rejects UN report on Yemen

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The Saudi-led coalition again rejected a UN report, claiming it included false data and information about children who lost their lives in the Yemen conflict. (SPA)
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The Saudi-led coalition again rejected a UN report, claiming it included false data and information about children who lost their lives in the Yemen conflict. (SPA)
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The Saudi-led coalition again rejected a UN report, claiming it included false data and information about children who lost their lives in the Yemen conflict. (SPA)
Updated 03 July 2018

Saudi-led coalition rejects UN report on Yemen

JEDDAH: The Saudi-led coalition again rejected a report by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, claiming it included false data and information about children who lost their lives in the Yemen conflict.
Col. Turki Al-Maliki, the coalition’s spokesman, said the annual report on Children and Armed Conflict mentioned several figures and associated them to the coalition, without any basis or documentation.
Through local organizations supported by the Yemeni president, Al-Maliki said he provided UN officials with the correct data.
Speaking at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Riyadh, Col. Al-Maliki said, Yemen’s national commission of inquiry has reported human rights violations in its latest reports.
These included more than 100 cases of children losing their lives on the battlefield and then being transferred to the capital Sanaa by Houthi militias, “who issue them death certificates.”
The UN report said the Houthis there have been some cases of child recruits from the age of 12. But Al-Maliki said the coalition has evidence that children have been recruited from as early as eight years-old.


Iran sentences British lawyer to 10 years in jail for spying

Iran has a long track record of detaining foreigners and political prisoners in Evin prison (pictured). (File/Reuters)
Updated 11 August 2020

Iran sentences British lawyer to 10 years in jail for spying

  • British-Iranian dual national is accused of recruiting Iranian officials to work for MI6
  • Latest convictions highlight Iran’s ‘arbitrary’ targeting of foreigners with Western links

LONDON: A British-Iranian lawyer has been convicted on charges of spying and sentenced to 10 years in prison, along with four other Iranian nationals.

Iran’s judiciary said Shahram Shirkhani, a Tehran-based lawyer, spied for British intelligence services and tried to recruit Iranian officials to work for MI6.

Shirkhani, who also taught law at the Islamic Azad University at the time of his arrest, previously served as a legal adviser to Iran’s foreign investment authority.

Gholamhossein Esmaili, a judiciary spokesman, said Shikhani had passed on classified information about Iran’s central bank and defense ministry contracts.

Shikhani was one of “five Iranians who were spying for foreign intelligence services” to be arrested over the past few months, Esmaili said, alleging that they had been working for Britain, Israel and Germany.

The only other person named by Esmaili for spying was Masoud Mosaheb, an Austrian-Iranian national who served as secretary-general of the Iran-Austria friendship association.

In a separate case to that of Shikhani, Mosaheb was also sentenced to 10 years in jail for spying for Israeli and German intelligence agencies, Esmaili said.

Tehran has been widely criticised for its judicial process and for targeting foreigners perceived to have links with Western nations.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has previously noted the pattern of Iran detaining dual nationals, and said the arrests and detentions of many of those detained by Tehran are “arbitrary,” and that authorities targeted people based on their “national or social origin.” 

Human Rights Watch said Iranian authorities “systematically deny” foreigners charged with national security crimes — such as Shikhani and Mosaheb — with access to lawyers of their choosing.

They also said that many of those sentenced in Iran to long jail terms or even death “did not have access to any legal counsel during investigation.”

Last month, Iran executed Mahmoud Mousavi Majd, a former translator convicted of spying for the US and Israel. He was accused of helping locate Qassem Soleimani, the powerful commander killed by the US in a drone strike.

Reza Asgari was also executed in July after he was convicted of spying on Iran’s missile program for the US.