London- The crisis of Kenya’s arrest of two Iranians, who have been charged with collecting information for a terrorist act after filming the Israeli Embassy in Nairobi, grew on Friday after Tehran called for their immediate release.
According to Reuters, Iranian news agencies said the Kenyan ambassador to Tehran was summoned on Thursday by the Iranian Foreign Ministry over the arrest and that the “necessity for the immediate release of the two Iranians was underlined during the meeting.”
A Foreign Ministry spokesman denied any wrongdoing by the arrested men, saying they were university teachers in Tehran.
Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said the two men, 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.”
Their defense lawyer, Cohen Amanya, told Reuters after the pair’s court appearance on Thursday that his clients pleaded not guilty and had been detained by Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit “for further interrogation”.
The Mehr news agency identified the two men as Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahimi and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee.
This is the second such incident for Iranians in Kenya. In 2013, a Kenyan court jailed two Iranians for life on terrorism-related charges, including possession of explosives. The sentence was reduced to 15 years on appeal.
The newest arrests of the two Iranians draw parallels to Tehran’s attacks on foreign diplomatic missions on its territories and abroad.
Earlier this year, protesters stormed Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad.
Similar attacks on other missions have taken place in 2011, 2009, 2006 and 1979.