Cheetah researchers accused of spying sentenced in Iran
Scientists and conservationists condemned the verdict, warning about the dangers of mixing politics and conservation.
A court in Tehran on Wednesday has handed down a guilty verdict for six cheetah researchers accused of spying, with sentences ranging from six to ten years.
The researchers all work for the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF), a Tehran-based nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to saving the Asiatic cheetah and other species. They have spent almost two years in jail since their arrest in early 2018. The intelligence branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accused them of spying on Iran for enemy countries. (Read more about their arrest and imprisonment.)
PWHF founder Morad Tahbaz (who holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenship) and program manager Niloufar Bayani both received 10-year sentences, while Houman Jowkar and Taher Ghadirian were sentenced