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Saturday, October 10, 1998 Published at 17:57 GMT 18:57 UK


Iranian press report on condemned German

The following is the text of a report in Saturday's edition of the Persian-language newspaper, Iran.

Helmut Hofer, the German businessman, has been condemned to death in the second trial on charges of moral corruption and illicit sexual relations with an Iranian girl called Vahideh Q.

The judge of Tehran's public court, branch number 180 based at Mehrabad Airport, also sentenced Vahideh Q to a hundred lashes.

On the basis of the accusations, last Autumn, security officers patrolling the foreign flights terminal of the airport noticed that a 26-year-old Iranian girl was waiting to welcome a 50-year-old German passenger (that is, Hofer).

The officers took Hofer and the girl to the security office of the airport and in the course of the interrogation, the girl said that she had got to know Helmut Hofer several months earlier at a hotel in Mashhad.

Hofer introduced himself as an importer and exporter of dried fruit and nuts and said that he had a trading company in Khorasan.

The case of Hofer and Vahideh Q, who were charged with having illicit sexual relations, was then sent to the public court based in Mehrabad Airport.

After preliminary investigations, the court judge issued an order for the temporary detention of Hofer and Vahideh Q, and the two were imprisoned.

However, after four months, Vahideh Q was released on bail.

Vahideh Q, who is a student of medicine, said in her defence: "Because I speak a foreign language well, Hofer promised to employ me in his company ... This acquaintance eventually turned into a friendship and he promised to marry me.

"But he kept putting off the date of the marriage on different excuses, including work-related ones, until I realised that I had been deceived by him."

The German Hofer said in his defence: "We were simply friends and I do not accept the charge of illicit sexual relations."

He added: "Before getting to know Vahideh, I had become separated from my wife, who is a Turkish national, and I intended to marry an Iranian girl. But then this problem cropped up."

In the first trial, Hofer was sentenced to death on charges of moral corruption and illegitimate sexual relations.

But, after he appealed, the state supreme court, in the course of its investigations, found fault with the form and procedure of three sets of evidence related to the case, and referred the case back to the court at Mehrabad Airport.

In the second trial, after two court sessions, Helmut Hofer was again found guilty and condemned to death.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.



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