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British-Iranian Alireza Akbari’s Execution Sparks Outrage: A Hasty Ending to a Controversial Case

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The execution of British-Iranian man, Alireza Akbari, has been widely condemned. Akbari, a former deputy Iranian defence minister, was arrested in 2019 and was sentenced to death on charges of spying for the UK, a claim which he denied. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the execution a “callous and cowardly act, carried out by a barbaric regime.” France summoned Iran’s top diplomat in Paris, warning that Tehran’s repeated violations of international law could not go unanswered. The UK has imposed sanctions on Iran’s Prosecutor General, saying it would hold the regime to account “for its appalling human rights violations.”

In a statement, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, “Sanctioning him today underlines our disgust at Alireza Akbari’s execution.” Additionally, the foreign secretary has temporarily withdrawn Britain’s ambassador to Iran, Simon Shercliff, “for further consultations.” The Iranian judiciary’s official news outlet Mizan reported on Saturday that Akbari, 61, had been hanged but did not specify the date when the execution took place.

Iran posted a video of Akbari earlier this week showing what appeared to be forced confessions, and the country’s intelligence ministry had described the British-Iranian as “one of the most important agents of the British intelligence service in Iran.” However, BBC Persian broadcast an audio message on Wednesday from Akbari in which he said he had been tortured and forced to confess on camera to crimes he did not commit

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