U.S. expenses three in Iran-backed effort to assassinate journalist By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Legal professional Normal Merrick Garland arrives to announce that he’s appointing a particular counsel to analyze President Joe Biden’s dealing with of categorized paperwork from when Biden was Vice President, on the Justice Division in Washington

(Corrects paragraph 7 to notice arrests in kidnapping plot had been in 2021, not final yr)

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors have charged three members of an Jap European felony group which has ties to Iran’s authorities with conspiring to assassinate a journalist and activist who’s a U.S. citizen, Legal professional Normal Merrick Garland stated on Friday.

Rafat Amirov, Polad Omarov and Khalid Mehdiyev had been charged with murder-for-hire and cash laundering for his or her function within the thwarted Tehran-backed plot, the Division of Justice stated in a press release.

“The sufferer publicized (the) Iranian authorities’s human rights abuses, discriminatory remedy of girls, suppression of democratic participation and expression and use of arbitrary imprisonment, torture and execution,” Garland stated.

Garland didn’t title the alleged sufferer, however Mehdiyev was arrested final yr in New York for having a rifle outdoors the Brooklyn residence of journalist Masih Alinejad, a longtime critic of Iran’s head-covering legal guidelines who has promoted movies of girls violating these legal guidelines on social media.

Mehdiyev pleaded not responsible to at least one depend of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial quantity. He’s being held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Heart pending trial.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

U.S. prosecutors in 2021 charged 4 Iranians alleged to be intelligence operatives for Tehran with plotting to kidnap a New York-based journalist and activist. Whereas the goal of the plot was not named, Reuters confirmed she was Alinejad.

Amirov was arrested on Thursday and can have a pretrial listening to in federal courtroom in Manhattan afterward Friday. Omarov was arrested within the Czech Republic earlier this month, and the USA is in search of his extradition.

The USA in 2011 arrested one man it stated was linked to an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington on the time at a restaurant he frequented within the capital.

Washington accuses Tehran of backing terrorism and pursuing nuclear arms, expenses Iran denies.

(This story has been corrected to say that the arrests within the kidnapping plot had been in 2021, not final yr, within the seventh paragraph)

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