Iran questioned over British protester on espionage and alcohol trial

The Foreign Office said tonight it was urgently seeking information from Iran's government after reports that a British national was among opposition supporters on trial for taking part in anti-government street protests last year.

A 24-year-old woman with dual British and Iranian nationality is one of 16 people being tried in Tehran over the most serious unrest since the disputed election in June returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, reports from Iran said.

At least eight people died when ­protesters and security forces clashed on 27 December. The Briton, not named by the court, was born in Manchester to a British mother who later converted to Islam, the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency said.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are urgently seeking clarification from the Iranian authorities."

Five of the 16 opposition backers, whose trial resumed today , face the capital offence of moharebeh, or waging war against God, Reuters reported. A week ago, Iran executed the first two people convicted in connection with anti-government protests.

The British woman does not face the death penalty, says ISNA, but the charges include espionage, immoral relations with foreigners, drinking alcohol, and insulting high-ranking officials. She was arrested three weeks ago and is alleged to have sent 40 text messages encouraging people to go to the December protests, during the Shia Muslim festival of Ashura.

Some of the charges aga... >>>

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