Several months after being sentenced to death, Jamshid Sharmahd, a dual national abducted in Dubai, has been given a new court hearing, with threats of additional charges.
Sharmahd, who holds German and Iranian citizenship, was abducted by Iranian agents in 2020, smuggling him to Iran. he was sentenced to death in February after being convicted of heading a pro-monarchist group named Tondar accused of a deadly bombing incident that occurred in 2008 at a religious center in Shiraz, killing 14 and injuring 215 more.
During his imprisonment, human rights organizations have raised concerns about the deteriorating health of the 68-year-old who has been held in solitary confinement with allegations of his being denied access to an independent attorney and fair legal procedures during his trial.
The US based activist whose group aims to restore the overthrown monarchy, toppled in the 1979 revolution, is believed to have been forced to confess to the charges against him, in line with innumerable cases under the regime. His family calls the allegations "ridiculous".
The Mizan News Agency quoted the judge presiding over the new hearing as saying the case is one seeking compensation and justice for the families of those lost in the 2008 bomb attack. “The case has been characterized as a lawsuit by families who have lost loved ones, witnessed injuries, or experienced disabilities in terrorist operations attributed to the Tondar group," judge Majid Hosseinzadeh said.
The issue of dual national hostages has resurfaced in light of the latest Qatar-brokered deal to free up $6bn in frozen Iranian funds in South Korea in exchange for five US citizens, leading to allegations that the Biden administration is playing a dangerous game encouraging the hostage-taking of yet more dual nationals abroad.