British Council Employee Aras Amiri Returns to UK After Release From Iranian Prison

British Council employee Aras Amiri has returned to the United Kingdom after her release from a prison in Iran following the acquittal of spying charges set against her.

“We are very pleased to confirm that British Council employee and Iranian citizen Aras Amiri has been acquitted by the Supreme Court in Iran of all charges previously made against her, following a successful appeal lodged by her lawyer,” the British Council announced in a statement.

“We have always refuted the original charges made against Aras. We are very proud of her work in our London office as an arts program officer supporting a greater understanding and appreciation of Iranian culture in the UK,” the cultural organization further said.

Amiri is now at an undisclosed address in the UK.

In May 2019, Iranian authorities sentenced Amiri to 10 years in prison, accusing her of spying while she was visiting her family.

In a 2019 letter to then-chief justice and current President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, Amiri said that Iranian authorities handed her the sentence after she refused to become an informant for Iran’s intelligence service.

PEN America, a nonprofit organization that works to defend freedom of expression and human rights, also celebrated Amiri’s release.

“We hope that this acquittal will send a wider signal to Iranian authorities, that cultural exchange is no crime and should not be treated as such,” Julie Trebault, the Director of the Artists at Risk Connection at PEN America said in a statement.

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