BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 19:39 GMT
Jailed Iran Jews' appeal rejected
Shiraz street scene
The case has cast a shadow over Jewish community
Iran's supreme court has rejected an appeal from 10 jailed Iranian Jews convicted of spying for Israel.

Iranian media said three supreme court judges had studied the appeal and found it to have no legal basis.

The men were given prison terms ranging from four to 13 years by a court in Shiraz last July. Three others were acquitted.

In September, the defendants had their sentences reduced by between two and six years.

The appeal writs contained repetitious material which had been heard

Prosecutor's office
No further appeal is possible.

Hamid 'Danny' Tefileen, a merchant whose recruitment of Muslim accomplices first alerted security forces to the group's espionage ring, had his sentence cut to nine years from 13.

Asher Zadmehr, a university instructor of English, had his jail term cut from 13 to seven years.

Two Muslim collaborators, a military officer and a defence contractor, have also received prison sentences in the case.

The case remains open against at least four Muslims and one other Jewish suspect, Eshaq Belans, who has fled Iran.

No requests for pardon

A statement from the prosecutor's office, quoted by the Iranian news agency Irna on Wednesday, said: "The appeal writs contained repetitious material which had been heard by the court of first instance and the appeals court ... and the supreme court issued an opinion rejecting the request."

An Iranian judiciary spokesman said the judiciary had not received any requests for pardon from the 10 men.

However, a Jewish member of Iran's parliament claimed the 10 had sought pardon from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Israel, which is not recognised by Iran, has denied any espionage link with the men.

A young Jewish boy in Iran
Jews have lived in Iran for at least 2,000 years
Iran, for its part, has rejected international criticism of the case as interference in its internal affairs.

The US State Department has expressed disappointment the court did not overturn all the convictions.

Both the United States and France had urged Iran to ensure justice in a case see as a battleground between hard-line clerics and reformists.

Human rights groups questioned the fairness of the closed-door court with no jury and the judge also acting as prosecutor.

The case focused attention on the country's 30,000-strong Jewish community, the oldest and biggest in the Middle East outside Israel.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

21 Sep 00 | Middle East
Iran spy case sentences cut
20 Sep 00 | Middle East
'Death threats' for Iranian Jews' lawyer
02 Jul 00 | Middle East
Iran rejects criticism of spy verdicts
30 Jul 00 | Middle East
Iranian Jews' appeal under review
01 Jul 00 | Middle East
Iranian Jews guilty of spying
01 Jul 00 | Middle East
Iran's Jews face uncertain future
13 Apr 00 | Middle East
Trial puts spotlight on Iran's Jews
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories