The indictment announced on Tuesday did not mention the target of the kidnapping. But the Reuters news agency confirms that the matter concerns the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad. In her reports, she was often critical of government policy in Iran, including corruption and the strict dress code that women have to adhere to in Iran.
Alinejad works, among other things, as the presenter of the talk show “Tablet” on the Persian-language branch of the “Voice of America” news channel. She fled Iran in 2009.
According to the indictment, the four Iranians hired private investigators on false pretenses to track down an unnamed journalist in Brooklyn. Relatives and Ali Nejad’s home were also photographed. Prosecutor Audrey Strauss of the Southern District of New York said the purpose of the kidnapping was to force the journalist into Iran, where the victim’s fate would be uncertain at best.
Alinejad told Reuters on Tuesday he was in shock. She said she has been working with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation for the past eight months after they approached her with photos of her potential kidnappers. In 2020, Alinejad wrote in the American Washington Post that the Iranian government called for her kidnapping.
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