Iranian authorities released the remaining two of a total of eight Slovak paragliders detained in May for alleged espionage and for owning unpermitted devices.

The pair was handed over to Slovak officials December 11, the Iranian Mehr newswire informed as quoted by the TASR newswire, without giving more details on the release. Beginning in September, Iran freed six of the eight Slovak tourists, but two others, Pavol Šeliga and Marek Stolarčík, were to stay in the country until the suspicions surrounding them were fully investigated, TASR wrote.

The eight Slovaks were detained in mid-May for what Iranian authorities called “illegal activities, including taking photos of prohibited places” in the Isfahan province, where several key nuclear facilities are located, including at least one plant used for enriching uranium. They are members of Paragliding Expedition Slovakia, a group that has organised several expeditions in recent years, and which made documentary films that they later presented at film festivals. The group claims to have travelled to Iran as tourists in early May.

Iranian authorities confirmed that eight Slovak paragliders had been detained on June 30, saying they were “behaving inappropriately and had unconventional devices with them”, as reported by TASR. One of the six released paragliders said that they were allegedly detained for having dual-band transmitters.

This case became one of the crucial issues of the talks in August between Slovak Foriegn and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on the occasion of the appointment of the latter.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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