Former Senior UN Official, Father of Imprisoned Businessman Siamak
On February 22, 2016, 80-year-old Iranian-American Baquer Namazi was arrested after arriving in Iran to visit his imprisoned son Siamak. Security forces detained Baquer at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport at night, as he returned home to Iran from Dubai, where he had gone for a medical check-up and to visit his grandchildren. According to a report by the IRGC-affiliated news agency Fars, Namazi was arrested in order “to uncover the complex layers of vast financial and intelligence corruption by a network that is associated to the UK and America.” Baquer is also accused in the report of training his son Siamak in “espionage and infiltration and subversion operations.” According to a state-run television news program, Baquer has worked with foreign political figures and groups ever since he came to Iran in 2002 to create a “network that would implement the ambitions of Western spy agencies and anti-revolutionary lobbies.” Baquer is a former Iranian provincial governor under the Shah, and UNICEF representative who worked in several countries such as Kenya, Somalia, and Egypt. Baquer most recently ran Hamyaran, an umbrella organization of a number of different Iranian NGOs.
Treatment in Prison
Baquer and his son Siamak are being held in Evin prison, where they have been denied access to their family’s lawyer. Baquer has a severe heart condition, as well as a host of other medical conditions that require medical attention, according to his wife. According to Babak, Baquer’s son, his father has lost about 25 pounds during his time behind bars.
Charges & Conviction
On October 18, 2016, it was announced that Baquer was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $4.8 million on charges of cooperating with the U.S. government in a trial that only last a few hours. Effie, Baquer’s wife, announced on Facebook, “Now both my innocent son Siamak and my Baquer are in prison for no reason.” On the same day, the U.S. Department of State called for the immediate release of all U.S. citizens unjustly detained in Iran, including Siamak and Baquer. Also, his former employer UNICEF has appealed for his release on humanitarian grounds.”