Iranian dissident criticizes Italy over his "shameful" arrest

The exiled Iranian opposition activist whom Italy arrested and released after protests from human rights groups said in a Friday interview that Rome authorities had behaved shamefully towards him.

Mehdi Khosravi, 37, was apprehended near Lake Como in northern Italy late Saturday after his name showed up on a wanted list supplied by Iran to international police agency Interpol. He was released on Thursday after a court was told he had refugee status in Britain.

"It is shameful that a member state of the European Union arrests a political refugee persecuted by a regime that has killed many people around the world. Why didn't your government intervene earlier?" Khosravi told La Repubblica daily.

The dissident, who lives in Britain, said he had previously travelled to France, Germany and Spain and experienced no problems with police.

Khosravi said Italian police did not allow him to contact the British embassy, a lawyer or his family when he was arrested. He said he felt so desperate that he tried to commit suicide once he was transferred to prison.

Amnesty International and Reza Pahlavi, the son of the shah who was deposed by Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, pleaded for the man's release. Pahlavi and Khosravi are among the leaders of the Iran National Council for Free Elections, an opposition group.

Khosravi fled his country in the wake of protests about the 2009 presidential elections, marred by allegations of fraud. Iran wants to try him for corruption. "They are false and ridiculous accusations and I don't even want to answer them," the activist replied.

Last update: Fri, 12/08/2016 - 10:32

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