THE GROUP of Slovak paragliders detained in Iran in May on grounds of alleged espionage is being kept informed of all developments and can move freely within their prison, said Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák on August 14 when describing the results of the second meeting with the Slovak consul in Tehran, the TASR newswire reported.
According to the minister, the Iranians are treating the detained Slovaks politely, and they have not kept them separated during their imprisonment. They even allowed them to have contact with their families, as reported by TASR.
The minister also confirmed that negotiations over the release of the Slovaks are continuing.
“We are working intensively on the political solution of the case,” Lajčák said, as quoted by TASR, adding that the ministry will do everything to get them out of prison. He also called for patience, as people can sometimes be detained for several years.
The minister also confirmed they are communicating with Iranian authorities every day, and that this communication “is correct”, as reported by TASR.
The media first reported in late June the story of 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. According to media reports, they are members of 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.
Iranian authorities confirmed the detention of eight Slovak paragliders on June 30, saying they were “behaving inappropriately and had unconventional devices with them”, which civilians usually do not have access to, said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, as reported by TASR.
The Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry informed that it has been dealing with the case since the end of May. Representatives of the ministry have also met several times with the Iranian Ambassador to Austria, Hassan Tajik, who is also responsible for Slovakia, to discuss the case.
19. Aug 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff