Turkey detains 11 over abduction of Iranian dissident

Turkey detains 11 over abduction of Iranian dissident...
aljazeera.com 14/12/2020 Military

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Habib Chaab, an Iranian ethnic Arab separatist leader, was drugged and kidnapped by a network working for Iran’s intelligence service, official says.
Turkey has arrested 11 people involved in the abduction and smuggling to Iran of an Iranian dissident wanted in connection with a deadly 2018 attack in southwestern Iran.
Habib Chaab, an Iranian ethnic Arab separatist leader, was drugged and kidnapped by a network working “on behalf of Iran’s intelligence service” after being lured into flying to Turkey by an Iranian intelligence operative, a senior Turkish official said.
Iran’s state media said in November that Iranian intelligence officers arrested Chaab over suspected involvement in a 2018 attack on a military parade that killed dozens of people, without saying when or how he was detained.
Chaab, who was based in Sweden, was persuaded to fly to Turkey to meet a woman who, unknown to him, worked for Iranian intelligence, the Turkish official said.
When he arrived in Istanbul he went to a rendezvous point, where he was drugged and tied down, the official said. Istanbul police said Chaab was spirited from the city to Turkey’s eastern province of Van, and from there across the border into Iran.
The 11 people were arrested two weeks ago, police said.
The account of Chaab’s abduction was first reported by the Washington Post. There was no immediate public comment from Iran.
Chaab’s detention comes one year after another Iranian dissident, Masoud Molavi Vardanjani, was shot dead on an Istanbul street. Two senior officials told the Reuters news agency the killing was instigated by intelligence officers at Iran’s consulate in Turkey.
Dissidents targeted
Turkish broadcaster CNN Turk said the operation to detain the 11 suspected of abducting Chaab was also prompted by the seizure of other Iranian opposition figures.
On Saturday, Iran executed dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, who was convicted of fomenting violence during anti-government protests in 2017, Iranian state television reported. Zam was captured in 2019 after living in exile in France. Zam’s execution has stirred outrage in Europe.
Turkey’s intelligence agency determined there had been abductions, including that of Chaab, by people who formed Iran’s intelligence network in Turkey and who were linked to a convicted Iranian drug smuggler, Naji Sharifi Zindashti, CNN Turk said.
Hurriyet newspaper said Chaab had been lured to Istanbul using his ex-wife, who asked to see him and promised to pay back debts. There he was put in a minibus and taken back to Iran by people linked to Zindashti, the paper said.
An Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance, which seeks a separate state in Iran’s oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan, claimed responsibility for the 2018 attack that killed 25 people, almost half members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard.
The ISIL (ISIS) armed group also claimed responsibility. Neither claim provided evidence.

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The Case of Saeed Karimian
Saeed Karimian (8 August 1972 – 29 April 2017) was an Iranian television executive, the founder, chairman, and owner of Dubai-based GEM TV, which runs 17 Persian-language TV channels, plus one each in Kurdish, Azeri, and Arabic. Karimian who was British national had been tried in absentia by a court in Tehran, and sentenced to a prison term of six years for spreading propaganda against Iran.
Karimian was shot dead in Istanbul, Turkey, on 29 April 2017, along with his Kuwaiti business partner. According to the exiled Iranian opposition group National Council of Resistance, Karimian was assassinated by the Revolutionary Guard on the orders of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader. In May 2017, Turkish media reported that two people accused for the assassination of Karimian were arrested in Serbia with fake passports on their way to Iran.
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