The US Justice Department has accused three men who are part of an Eastern European criminal organization of planning the July 2021 murder of an Iranian journalist in the United States. According to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, the criminal organization has ties to the Iranian government. The three arrested are Rafat Amirov, Polad Omarov and Khalid Mehdiyev.
Garland did not name the Iranian journalist, but one of the three accused – Mehdiyev – was arrested last year in New York after being stopped holding a shotgun outside the home of Iranian journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad , who lives in New York. Alinejad had managed to spot the attackers and escape before being shot. Amirov was arrested on Thursday, while Omarov was arrested in the Czech Republic in early January and the United States has requested his extradition.
The journalist told Reuters news agency that she was called by FBI agents who on Friday morning detailed the three men’s alleged conspiracy on behalf of the Iranian government.
Alinejad is 46 years old, has a considerable following on social networks and hosts a program on Voice of American Persian, a satellite television funded by the US government. Over the years, Alinejad has expressed harsh criticism of the Iranian regime, with various initiatives, including campaigns against the obligation for Iranian women to wear the veil in public.
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