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Iranian exile deplores his arrest by Italy

12 agosto 2016 | 18.59
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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An exiled dissident freed from jail in Italy after his arrest last week on an international warrant from Iran for alleged corruption has called his detention "shameful".

"It is shameful that a members state of the European Union should arrest a political refugee persecuted by a regime that has killed so many people around the world," Mehdi Khosravi said Friday in an interview with Italian daily La Repubblica.

"Why didn't your government intervene earlier?"Khosravi said, adding that he had previously travelled to France, Germany and Spain and had not experienced problems with police.

Khosravi, 37, was arrested at a hotel on Lake Como in northern Italy on Saturday and released on Thursday after protests from the late shah of Iran's son Reza Pahlavi and human rights groups, who said he risked torture and execution if extradited to his homeland.

A court ordered his release from prison in the northern town of Lecco on Thursday after it established he had refugee status in Britain, where he lives.

He he had been vacationing in Italy with friends when he was detained.

Khosravi said Italian police did not allow him to contact the British embassy, a lawyer or his family when he was arrested, bringing back traumatic memories of his arrest, torture and detention in Iran 1999.

He said he felt so desperate that he tried to commit suicide once he was transferred to prison in Lecco.

"I preferred to die rather than being killed in Iran," he told La Repubblica.

The British government will ask Rome to account for his arrest and imprisonment, Khosravi claimed.

"When I get back to London I intend to reveal more about what happened to me in Italy," he said.

Khosravi dismissed as "false and ridiculous" the corruption allegations over which Iran's judiciary wants to try him. "I don't even want to answer them," he stated.

Pahlavi and Khosravi are among the leaders of the Paris-based National Council of Iran, a group that  advocates free and fair elections in Iran.

Khosravi began a blog in 2003 called 'Gomnamian' (People with no Name).

The UK granted Khosravi asylum after he fled Iran in 2009 during the purges following the rigged presidential poll that returned hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

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