Neda Amin, an Iranian-born blogger who was granted entry to Israel from Turkey, has been questioned by the Shin Bet security service, Reuters reported on Friday, quoting a Shin Bet statement and an unnamed Israeli official.
Amin, a blogger and freelancer at The Times of Israel’s Persian website, said she was “okay” and “free.” The official confirmed to Reuters that Amin was not under arrest.
An Iranian-born journalist, blogger and rights activist who was critical of the Iranian regime, Amin was allowed into Israel on humanitarian grounds in August after she contacted The Times of Israel and said her life was in danger in Turkey. She has since been following official procedures to obtain permanent resettlement rights in Israel.
Reuters said she was questioned on suspicion of illegal communication with Iran. A Shin Bet statement said that, since arriving Israel, Amin communicated with “Iranian representatives” and was questioned about this by the security service. An Israeli security official said the people with whom Amin was allegedly communicating were in Iran and were not her relatives.
Amin was not under arrest, the Israeli official told the news agency, reportedly adding: “Whether there is a (criminal) case here is still being investigated.”
The news agency said Amin later explained that she had unwittingly been in contact, in Turkey and in Israel, with a man who, unbeknown to her, worked for the Iranian government. She told Reuters she was questioned by the Shin Bet for eight days about her contact with this man, who she had thought was an Israeli intelligence agent.
“A Farsi-speaking man had called her in Turkey, describing himself as an Israeli intelligence officer who wanted to ‘protect’ her from Ankara’s security services,” Reuters reported Amin saying, and he had stayed in touch with her after she was allowed into Israel. They had never met, she said. Whenever he called her, Amin told Reuters, his phone number appeared on her screen with an Israeli prefix.
“They told me I am innocent as I have been in touch with an impostor, without knowing it,” Amin told the news agency. “I have spoken to this man, but I have done nothing against Israel’s security.”
“I‘m okay. I‘m free, and I‘m at the home of a friend,” Amin said.
Amin, originally from Tehran, added that her father was Jewish and mother Muslim. “My idea and my belief is that I am Jewish,” she said.