Thailand has given the green light to transfer three people serving sentences for plotting a bombing to Iran. The move is an apparent exchange for Tehran releasing an Australian-British academic convicted of espionage charges.
The prisoner swap was first reported on Wednesday, when the Iranian government agreed to release 33-year-old Kylie Moore-Gilbert. She was serving a 10-year prison sentence after being tried and convicted as an Israeli spy in 2018.
Iranian media said her release was made in exchange for securing the freedom of three Iranian citizens, who were held in a foreign prison. The identity of those people was not reported. Footage broadcast by Iranian television showed a group of three men, one of them in a wheelchair, with their faces covered by masks and large hats. Some sources on the social media said they were Saeed Moradi, Mohammad Khazaei and Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh, who were serving terms in Thailand for illegal possession of explosives and other crimes.
News: Iran releases British Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert in a swap for three Iranian men held abroad. First footage: pic.twitter.com/n98gTAAbIi
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) November 25, 2020
The group was busted in 2012 after a powerful explosion happened in a rented house in which they were staying. Media said that Thai police were tipped off by Israeli intelligence, who said the Iranians were preparing a bombing attack against Israeli diplomats in Bangkok. Moradi lost his legs while trying to flee the police, reportedly after trying to toss a grenade at officers. Israel at the time said the botched plot was part of a series of attacks by Iran’s government, which also included bombings in India and Georgia.
Moore-Gilbert is a Cambridge-educated scholar of Islamic studies, who worked as a lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Iran said she had received training in espionage from Israeli intelligence and attempted to gather classified materials on Iran’s economic and military affairs during her second visit to the country. She was arrested in September 2018 as she was leaving Tehran. (RT)
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