ISLAMABAD: Four Iranian intelligence officials are facing charges in the United States to plan abduction of Iranian-American female journalist, Masih Alinejad, who is very critical of Iranian policies.
US prosecutors have charged four Iranians, alleged to be intelligence operatives, with conspiring to kidnap a New York journalist who was critical of Tehran, according to a Justice Department indictment.
While the indictment did not name the target of the plot, media reports claim name of Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad, who has contributed to the Voice of America’s (VOA) Persian-language service and reports on human rights issues in Iran.
The four Iranians hired private investigators under false pretences to surveil the unnamed journalist in Brooklyn, videotaping the victim’s family and home as part of a plot to take the person out of the country, according to Aljazeera report.
The four defendants planned “to forcibly take their intended victim to Iran, where the victim’s fate would have been uncertain at best,” said US lawyer Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York.
In a statement posted on its website, the DoJ identified the suspects as Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, also known as Vezerat Salimi and Haj Ali, 50; Mahmoud Khazein, 42; Kiya Sadeghi, 35; and Omid Noori, 45, all of whom are Iranian.
Farahani is an Iranian intelligence official who resides in Iran. Khazein, Sadeghi and Noori are members of Iranian intelligence who also reside in Iran and work under Farahani. They had allegedly been plotting the journalist’s kidnapping from at least June 2020.