WASHINGTON — A US Navy veteran who was jailed in Iran for nearly two years sues the Iranian government for $1 billion, alleging that he was kidnapped, held hostage and tortured.
The federal lawsuit describes in unsparing detail the “prolonged and continuous” abuse that Michael White says he suffered behind bars, including being beaten and punched, whipped on his feet, deprived of food and drink, and pressured to falsely confess that he was a spy for the US government.
“Mr. White endured this trauma for nearly two years, never knowing if or when he would be released and reunited with his family, repeatedly promised that his conditions would improve soon, only to be crushed psychologically when they did not,” the lawsuit states.
The allegations in the complaint mirror the claims made by White in a 156-page manuscript that he wrote behind bars and that was later obtained by The Associated Press.
The 31-page complaint traces White’s travel to Iran, saying he was lured there in the summer of 2018 by a woman he considered his girlfriend so that he could be kidnapped by Iranian government agents and put in prison. He was charged with insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader and cooperating with the US government against Iran — charges the lawsuit says were fabricated — and sentenced without a trial to 10 years in prison.