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9/12/03

UK releases Former Iranian Ambassador on bail after Argentina produces no evidence

Former Iranian Ambassador to Argentina Hade Soleimanpour was released on bail in the UK Friday after Argentina failed to produce any clear evidence of his alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, IRNA reported from London.

At an appeal at the High Court in London, the judge, Justice Royce said that there was no reason for not giving bail pending extradition proceedings after Argentina presented no clear evidence against Soleimanpour.

The decision comes after the judge gave Argentina an effective ultimatum on Tuesday, when he said the former ambassador would be released unless adequate evidence was produced within two days. At the latest hearing, Soleimanpor's barrister Alun Jones said that Argentina had only presented what was technically a summary of accusations that had been available on the internet since last March that failed to explain any involvement of his client.

In the accusations made against the Iranian government`s alleged involvement in the bombing, he said that only one paragraph referred to the ambassador on the basis that being in charge of the embassy at the time that his consent can in some way be assumed.

Justice Royce agreed that there was a lack of any adequate evidence and accepted the offer of bail, that included Pnds 500,000 (Dlrs 800,000) from the Iranian government, Pnds 200,000 from his father-in-law, Pnds 5,000 from a family friend and Dlrs 40,000 held by the family in a Swiss bank account.

The judge ruled that Soleimanpour should report daily to the local police and keep them advised of any travel plans but rejected a plea from the prosecution that a curfew should be imposed against his movements.

The former ambassador was arrest on a provisional extradition warrant on August 21 at his home in Durham, north east England, where he has been studying a PhD for the past two years. Argentina has been told to produce its full case by September 19, when Soleimanpour is next due in court. But under the terms of its extradition treaty with the UK, this is expected to be extended by a further month.

When the documents are received, Home Secretary David Blunkett has to sign an Authority to Proceed if a committal trial is to go ahead. Blunkett also makes the ultimate decision before any extraditions can be carried out.

... Payvand News - 9/12/03 ... --



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