Slovakia’s attempts to negotiate the release of the group of Slovak paragliders who were detained in Iran and accused of espionage have so far been unsuccessful. The Iranian authorities arrested the men at the end of May, the Sme daily reported.
The Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry has been in talks with the Iranian Embassy based in Vienna. The latest meeting took place on July 12, but ministry spokesperson Boris Gandel refused to reveal any details, calling it a “standard consultation”, the Sme daily reported.
According to Sme, the Iranians say they found pictures of nuclear facilities taken by the detained Slovaks. Photographing such sites is prohibited by Iranian law. Moreover, the paragliders were alleged to have arrived with a disassembled transmitter, which they later put together, Sme wrote.
The media first reported about the eight Slovaks detained for what Iranian authorities called “illegal activities, including taking photos of prohibited places” in the area of the Isfahan province, where many nuclear facilities are located including a plant used to enrich uranium, in late June. According to the media reports, they are members of the Paragliding Expedition Slovakia, and have organised several expeditions over the past few years, from which they have made documentary films presented at various festivals. They travelled to Iran as tourists at the beginning of May.
The Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry informed it has been dealing with the case since the end of May. At the meeting held on July 3 Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák asked the Iranian Ambassador Hassan Tajik to meet the Slovaks, but he has not accepted the request yet, Sme wrote.
For more information about this story please see: Slovak paragliders accused of espionage
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
15. Jul 2013 at 14:00