Crouch End's Aras Amiri acquitted three years into Iran imprisonment

Aras Amiri. Picture: Courtesy of the Centre for Human Rights in Iran

Aras Amiri. Picture: Courtesy of the Centre for Human Rights in Iran - Credit: Archant

Crouch End's Aras Amiri has been acquitted of the spying charges which have seen her imprisoned in Iran since 2018. 

Aras had been sentenced to 10 years in jail by the Iranian regime, but was allowed out of Evin prison to appeal her conviction, and the appeal has been upheld. 

She worked for the British Council and her arrest and imprisonment have been seen as further examples of Iran's "hostage diplomacy". Her job involved bringing Iranian arts and culture to a wider audience in the UK.

It's not clear at this stage when or even whether Aras will be able to return to the UK. 

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West said: “I’m delighted by this news.  Aras should never have been in prison and it’s now vital she can return home to the UK immediately."

Aras lost a previous appeal against her sentence in 2019, She does not have UK citizenship but would have qualified for it, had she applied. 

A British Council spokesperson said: "We are aware of and welcome the reports that Aras Amiri Larijani has been acquitted by the Supreme Court in Iran."

The British Council said it was unable to comment on the "legal aspects of the case".

Most Read

Aras' acquittal was announced by her lawyer Hojjat Kermani on Sunday.

The news comes as the future of others detained in Iran for political leverage remains unclear. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been trapped in Iran since 2016, remains in limbo after being convicted of spying charges for the second time earlier this year. UK-Iranian dual-nationals including Anoosheh Ashoori, Mohrad Tahbaz and Mehran Raoof are also still imprisoned there.

Last week Nazanin's husband Richard Ratcliffe called for more UN intervention in her case and in Iran's arbitrary detention of people with links to Western countries. 

Others to celebrate her release included Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British-Australian academic who spent two years in prison in Iran.

She said: "Some rare good news out of Iran. Aras lost more than three years of her young life, but hopefully can now return to London.

"A sign of movement in a positive direction for the other Western hostages in Evin?"