An American Navy veteran who was jailed in Iran for nearly two years has sued the Islamic Republic claiming that he was kidnapped, held hostage, and tortured.
In his lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, DC, Michael White alleged that he suffered “prolonged and continuous” torture in Iran to pressure him to falsely confess that he was a spy for the US government, AP reported on Friday.
In a 156-page manuscript that he wrote behind bars, he described in detail how he was beaten and punched, whipped on his feet, and deprived of food and drink.
In a 31-page complaint, the lawsuit said he was lured to travel to Iran in the summer of 2018 by a woman he considered his girlfriend, then he was kidnapped by Iranian agents and put in prison.
He was charged with insulting the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and cooperating with the US government against Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison without a trial. The lawsuit says the charges were fabricated.
If Iran does not respond to the allegations, a judge could enter a default judgment on White’s behalf, enabling him to collect damages from a fund set up for victims of acts of state-sponsored terrorism.
He was released in June 2020 after 683 days of incarceration.
Although US and Iranian officials repeatedly denied claims about a prisoner exchange, just a day before White’s release, an Iranian professor who was arrested in the US for violating sanctions on Iran was acquitted and returned to Iran.