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Slovak detained in Iran talks about his detainment

Slovak Matej Valuch (aged 26), who recently returned from Iran after being detained by authorities there, says he had been in custody since August 23, although his parents, as well as Slovak diplomats, learned about it only in January. He continued to tell the Sme daily that he spent the first 40 days in seclusion, which was the most difficult phase for him, but denies that he was tortured or abused by the Iranians.

Slovak Matej Valuch (aged 26), who recently returned from Iran after being detained by authorities there, says he had been in custody since August 23, although his parents, as well as Slovak diplomats, learned about it only in January. He continued to tell the Sme daily that he spent the first 40 days in seclusion, which was the most difficult phase for him, but denies that he was tortured or abused by the Iranians.

After being detained, Valuch was informed by Iranian authorities that the people who hired him were CIA agents, but that the Iranians did not consider him a US agent. He explained that is why he referred to people who hired him as agents rather than project managers in the video shot to publicise the case. He admits he should have looked into the matter more thoroughly before agreeing to cooperate. He was reluctant to speak about the projects he worked on in Iran before being detained, but deemed them realistic and economically viable. Valuch said he has been to Iran three times - twice in 2010 and once in 2012, for short business trips.

He told the Hospodárske Noviny daily in an interview that after his detention, he simply handed over all data (on the people he cooperated with) and contacts to investigators. In a phone call to his parents in September 2012, he decided to prolong his stay in Iran due to an earthquake; but in fact, he was already in prison. He also told his parents he would return home by November 2012 – based on the information he received from the investigators that he would be released in November. His job in Iran was to tip people for certain positions and evaluate their CVs, which he has been doing since 2008. Valuch added for the daily that he would not ask Iran for any reimbursement, despite the fact that he spent six months in a local prison.

Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák received the Ambassador-designate of Iran, Hassan Tajik, on Tuesday, February 12. One of the issues discussed, apart from collaboration in spheres not subject to embargo, was the resolution of Valuch’s case. Lajčák praised Tajik’s engagement in the case, the TASR newswire reported.

(Source: Sme, Hospodárske Noviny, TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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