Iranian correspondent finally acquitted of spy charges

Hamid Masoumi Nejad

ROME – After eight long years, respected Foreign Press journalist and IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) correspondent Hamid Masoumi Nejad finally has been acquitted in a trial against seven people, officials confirmed on Thursday.

 In 2010, Mr. Nejad was first accused of being a spy in the service of the MOIS, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, allegedly sent to Italy to influence public opinion and trade in arms. This is what the Italian secret service and Milan Public prosecutor claimed for years.

 Although this allegation was never proven, he was arrested and sent to prison for 60 days in confinement. Hamid has always maintained a "religious silence" on the matter in order to respect the investigation and trial, which have finally been concluded.

 A book about Hamid entitled “Non sono 007 – Le verità nascoste” ("I'm not 007 - The Hidden Truths") was recently published by Italian journalist Alessandra Mulas, which denounces the number of years the IRIB correspondent has waited to receive his sentence and the treatment he’s sustained during that time, including prison in isolation for the suspicion of being a spy.

 "It's the end of a nightmare," Mr. Nejad told the press.

 "I was taken to prison, on the ordinance it said that I was not a journalist, and the association of journalists suspended me because of what was being said in the news. I was sent to prison and put in solitary confinement. My family and I would constantly be submitted to checks on the streets or at the airport.”

 “The Foreign Press were the only ones who stood by me. I haven’t said anything in these past few years, I’ve only asked to receive a sentence. Now I'm asking for news, because when they arrested me I ended up on the front pages; now that I’ve been acquitted, I’m at least hoping for a short paragraph, not for me but for the dignity of my profession."

 Mr. Nejad has lived and worked in Italy for over 20 years, trying to promote mutual understanding between Italy and Iran. He’s a professional journalist and writer, correspondent to the Iranian radio and television channel in Rome, and author of articles on the history and archeology of Persia, as well as historical and artistic documentaries.