The German-Iranian Djamshid Sharmahd has been sentenced to death in Iran in a controversial trial. A revolutionary court in Tehran holds the 67-year-old responsible for a terrorist attack, among other things, as the justice portal Misan announced on Tuesday. The ruling could be appealed to the Supreme Court, it said.
The judiciary blames Sharmahd for planning several terrorist attacks. The court also charged him with cooperation with foreign secret services. The allegations cannot be verified. According to Islamic legal opinion in Iran, the 67-year-old was charged with "corruption on earth".
Iranian intelligence apparently arrested Sharmahd in Dubai
Sharmahd was reportedly arrested by Iranian intelligence in Dubai in the summer of 2020 and taken to Iran. Since then he has been imprisoned in Tehran. Sharmahd previously lived in the United States for years. His family and human rights groups have previously denied allegations against him.
Sharmahd was involved in the exile opposition group "Tondar" (Thunder) in the USA, which advocates a return to the monarchy. Iran's judiciary holds the organization responsible for an attack in a mosque in the city of Shiras in 2008 that killed several people. Three men have already been executed for it.
As an engineer and IT expert, Sharmahd also took part in a radio program run by the exile group. In 2019, the group's website, which has since been deleted but can be accessed in archive form, stated that the radio show broadcasts content on politics and history, but also instructions on how to resist. Tondar denounced the persecution of its members by the Islamic Republic.
Iran treats dual nationals legally as Iranians
It is unclear whether Sharmahd can receive consular assistance from the German embassy in Tehran. Iran treats dual nationals legally as Iranians. Amnesty International previously described the trial as a show trial.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz announced in early January that he would take over Sharmahd's political sponsorship. "With my sponsorship, I want to set an example for all men and women who are fighting for a free, self-determined life in Iran," said Merz's Twitter account. "The world is watching what is happening in Iran."
The chair of the Human Rights Committee in the Bundestag, Renata Alt (FDP), sharply criticized the death sentence. "The conviction to death of Djamshid Sharmahd shows once again how crude and inhuman the Iranian judiciary is. Sharmahd is innocent and must be acquitted immediately," Alt demanded sanctions against Iran," she added.
Several European nationals are currently being held in Iran, many of whom are also of Iranian nationality. Critics accuse Iran of holding foreign nationals as political hostages. Tehran denies the allegations and usually justifies the arrests with allegations of espionage.