Set our lawyers free, Iran tells Kenya

Friday December 2 2016

From left, Moses Keyah Mmboga, Abdolhosein

From left, Moses Keyah Mmboga, Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee and Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahimi appear in a Nairobi court on December 1, 2016 to face charges of illegally recording videos of the Israel Embassy in Nairobi on November 29, 2016 to be used in a terrorist act. Tehran has asked Nairobi to set them free. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Iran on Friday urged Kenya to release two of its citizens charged by a Nairobi court with planning a terrorist act after being arrested for filming the Israeli embassy.

The two men, Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahimi and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee, are "official lawyers of the justice ministry... who travelled to Nairobi on behalf of the families of two Iranian prisoners in Kenya for a legal follow-up", said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.

Ebrahimi and Safaee were arrested Tuesday by Kenyan anti-terrorism police after filming outside the Israeli embassy, allegedly in an Iranian embassy car.


The men, along with a Kenyan driver also charged on Thursday, had been to Kamiti prison outside Nairobi to visit two other Iranians, Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi, serving a 15-year term for possessing explosives after being convicted in 2013.

Ghasemi said the arrest of the two lawyers had been the result of a "misunderstanding" after "the intervention of some third parties into the case", and called for their immediate release.

Iran and Israel have been arch-foes since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Kenya's ambassador to Tehran was called to the foreign ministry on Thursday and told of the "hostile intervention of a third party in a finished case, undoubtedly with the intention of damaging good Iran-Kenya relations", Ghasemi said, without specifically referring to the Jewish state.