Slovak detained in Iran, accused of spying for CIA

Slovak media reported on Monday, January 21, that a Slovak citizen was detained in Iran for allegedly having spied for the US intelligence service, the CIA. The Slovak Foreign Ministry confirmed for the private TV Markíza that last week, a Slovak citizen was arrested in Tehran. The ministry asked the Iranian side for an explanation, but so far has received no response, according to the www.topky.sk news-portal.

Slovak media reported on Monday, January 21, that a Slovak citizen was detained in Iran for allegedly having spied for the US intelligence service, the CIA. The Slovak Foreign Ministry confirmed for the private TV Markíza that last week, a Slovak citizen was arrested in Tehran. The ministry asked the Iranian side for an explanation, but so far has received no response, according to the www.topky.sk news-portal.

The Slovak ministry strives to gain more information and to help the detainee, and has asked for permission to visit him. “In spite of repeated phone calls and notified requests, such contact has not been enabled so far,” spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Boris Gandel informed the TV Markíza. “We are working on the case and we will organise further steps,” he added.

The daily Sme identified the man as Matej Valúch, aged 26. Iranian state TV broadcast a documentary about him called Trapped Hunter – the video can be viewed on www.youtube.com in Farsi, the Persian language. The video implies that he came to the country to study, to be later contacted by a CIA officer to whom he sent personal data about Iranians. At the end of the story, six secret agents who plotted against Iranians are allegedly uncovered.

According to information Sme published on January 21, Matej Valúch left for Tehran in summer and worked there in the communication sector. He last contacted Slovakia at the beginning of December, but since then he could not be contacted. He speaks English; he graduated from the Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. He cannot speak Farsi. In the video, he pleaded guilty of espionage.

Expert on Arabic studies Jaroslav Bureš from the Institute for International Studies in Prague opined for the daily that Valúch’s detention could be the regime’s pre-election move to distract the public, show a “public enemy” and prevent disturbances and protests like those that emerged around the election four years ago.

(Source: TV Markíza, topky, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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