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Iranian Court Begins Trial Of German-Iranian Rights Activist

Nahid Taghavi

A German-Iranian human rights activist held in Iran on vague security-related charges has had her first hearing at a Revolutionary Court, her daughter and human rights groups said.

Nahid Taghavi, 66, was arrested in Tehran in October while on a family visit and spent nearly five months in solitary confinement in the capital's notorious Evin prison, in a case rights groups say amounts to politically motivated hostage taking.

"Today was the first hearing of #NahidTaghavi. Another trial day is scheduled, date unknown," her daughter Mariam Claren wrote on Twitter on April 28.

"My mother was allowed to see her brothers. They hugged her. Her first hug after almost 7 month," she wrote.

Taghavi, a trained architect who lived in the German city of Cologne for nearly four decades, was active supporting women's rights and freedom of expression in Iran, according to the rights group IGFM.

The dual national is charged with "endangering security," although up until now it is unclear what alleged crime she is accused of committing. For weeks, she had no contact with a lawyer or family and hasn't been granted access to German consular services, IGFM and Amnesty International said.

"It is extremely doubtful that these proceedings will follow the rule of law, because Nahid Taghavi's rights to a fair trial have also been systematically violated up to now," Amnesty said.

In the past several years, Iranian authorities have detained or jailed dozens of dual nationals, including journalists, academics, and human rights defenders.

"The noticeable accumulation of cases in which dual nationals are imprisoned without specific allegations of offenses indicates that the intent is to put pressure on the governments concerned," said Dieter Karg, an Iran expert at Amnesty International in Germany.

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