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Iran frees Spanish woman detained since end 2022: Madrid

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Iran frees Spanish woman detained since end 2022: Madrid
A woman raises her hand with red paint during a demonstration in support of Iranian women on October 4, 2022 in Barcelona. Photo: Pau BARRENA/AFP

Iran has released a Spanish woman, Ana Baneira, who had been in detention since November, Spain's foreign minister said on Sunday.

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"She was freed yesterday but we didn't want to announce it publicly before her plane had taken off from Iran," Jose Manuel Albares told journalists.

"I was able to speak with her... She is well," he said, adding that Baneira was on her way to her home region of Galicia, in northwestern Spain, following her release on Saturday.

Baneira was 24 years old when she was arrested in November, the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) revealed at the time.

The circumstances of her detention were never confirmed by Iranian authorities.

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However, it took place amid protests that followed the death in custody of a young Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, was arrested by the morality police in September for allegedly violating Iran's the strict dress code for women.

Her death in hospital three days later triggered widespread outrage.

Another Spanish citizen, football fan Santiago Sanchez Cogedor, has been in detention in Iran since October.

He was arrested while trying to walk to Qatar for the football World Cup.

"Today is a happy day and our happiness will be complete when Santiago is also freed," said Albares, adding that he would not stop trying to secure Cogedor's release.

Baneira's family said they were delighted she had been freed and looked forward to seeing her again "after long weeks of waiting".

They urged the media to give Baneira space and privacy.

Tehran says hundreds of people have been killed and thousands arrested in connection with the protests, which they generally describe as "riots".

In late September, the Iranian authorities said they had arrested nine foreigners in relation to the protests, most of them from France, Italy and Poland.

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