A Russian journalist has been arrested in Iran on suspicion of spying on the Islamic Republic on behalf of Israel, according to family members and Russian media reports.
Yulia Yuzik was first declared missing earlier this week by family members who said she was arrested in Tehran days ago. Her ex-husband Boris Voytsekhovskiy posted on Facebook that Yuzik was facing charges of cooperating with Israeli intelligence services, and that her trial is scheduled for Saturday.
According to Voytsekhovskiy, Yuzik’s charges carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
It wasn’t clear when Yuzik was arrested; her last post on social media was a series of Instagram pictures taken in Kashan, a city in northern part of Isfahan province.
Voytsekhovskiy told Russian media outlets that Yuzik used to work as a correspondent in Tehran several years ago, and she returned to the Iranian capital last week at the invitation of an unknown party.
He said that Iranian authorities confiscated Yuzik’s passport upon her arrival, telling her it would be returned to her when she departed the country. Days later, Voytsekhovskiy said that Revolutionary Guard Corps broke into her Tehran hotel room and detained her.
“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps broke into her hotel room yesterday and accused her of cooperating with Israeli security services,” Voytsekhovskiy told Russia’s RBC news site on Thursday.
Russia’s Embassy in Tehran told the TASS news agency it was aware of Yuzik’s arrest, and was “sorting out the situation.”