A nephew of a British-Iranian citizen was executed in Iran by hanging. He spoke of his shock and described the execution as “political games”.
Official Iranian news sources claimed that Alireza Akbari (the country’s former deputy defense minister) had been executed for spying on Britain. However, they did not specify when it was carried out.
Sky News spoke with Ramin Forghani who is a researcher in political sciences at the University of Luxembourg. He said that he had only good memories of his uncle and that the execution was a game that caused him great mental anguish.
According to Mr Forghani, he couldn’t imagine the pain his uncle would feel and recalled how his relatives would get together during the Iranian New Years period.
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He paid tribute to his friend by saying, “He was always smiling.” He would always help anyone he could, friends or family, and that’s what I will keep in my memory of him.”
It was a “absolutely horrible” time for the family, Mr Forghani stated. He said, “I can only imagine it was a terrible time for my uncle’s immediate family, his spouse and children.”
The 61-year-old Mr Akbari had been a minister in Mohammad Khatami’s reformist government between 1997 and 2005. He fled the country in 2008 for Britain after being briefly detained by the Iranians and then bailed. In 2019, he was again detained and charged with spying for MI6.
Forghani stated that the charges were absurd as his uncle was involved in the Iranian regime’s founding. He also held high-ranking positions in the government. We are dedicated to the country, and will not compromise its security.
He said that he believed it was a political game. It would be “unthinkable” for him to attempt to do anything to harm the country or the regime. His character is not one that I could see as someone who would do anything to harm the country. It’s impossible to digest that.
According to Mr Forghani, the only possible explanation was that his uncle was a political enemy who used the system against him. He stated that the execution was a violation human rights and demanded that Iran’s pressure be maintained. He also said that it was important to remember dual nationals who are currently in prison and awaiting sentence.
“The regime does everything it can to suppress the population but also to divert the attention of the world from what is happening in the country.”
“A barbaric act”
Prime Minister Rishi sunak stated that he was appalled by the execution and described it as “a callous, cowardly act, carried by a barbaric regim with no respect for human rights of their people”.
James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary, described it as “barbaric acts” that “deserve condemnation in strongest terms…and will not be unchallenged”. He sanctioned Iran’s prosecutor-general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri.
He tweeted later that the UK would temporarily recall its ambassador to Tehran and invite consultations.
According to semi-official Tasnim news agency, the Iranian judiciary claimed that Mr Akbari was a key spy for the British government.
According to the report, Iranian intelligence had unmasked him by giving him false information and called him “one of the most important spies of the country’s sensitive strategic centres and sensitive areas”.
Mr Akbari claimed that he was tortured, given mind-altering drugs, and forced to confess crimes he didn’t commit.