Tehran, Jan 5 (ANI): Shahram Amiri, the Iranian scientist who had claimed to have been abducted by the Central Investigative Agency (CIA) and eventually returned to a hero's welcome in Tehran in July last year, has been imprisoned and tortured on suspicion of leaking state secrets, according to an opposition website.
The Guardian quoted Iranbriefing.net, the website run by a US-based group that usually reports on political prisoners and the activities of Iran's revolutionary guard, as saying that Amiri was interrogated for three months in Tehran before spending two months in solitary confinement, where he was being hospitalised and treated for a week.
The Tehran authorities diplomatically escaped answering to the point when asked about the matter, but a spokesman for Iran's judiciary said: "I haven't heard anything about this [his arrest] and I don't have any information regarding this matter."
Amiri has not been seen in public in the six months since his much-publicised homecoming from America, where he claimed to have been held against his will. During that time, the Iranian media portrayed him as a daring patriot who had escaped from his alleged CIA captors with critical information about US covert operations against Iran.
US officials, surprised by Amiri's unexpected return to Iran, had claimed then that he had gone to the US willingly. However, there was concern in US intelligence circles that his original "defection" in Saudi Arabia in 2009 could have been a trap to embarrass the CIA and trick its officials into revealing how much the US knows about the Iranian nuclear programme.
During his stay in the US, Amiri appeared to have made three videos - one saying he had decided to continue his studies in the US, another saying he was being held captive and a third claiming to be on the run from the CIA.
He then presented himself to the Iranian interest section at the Pakistani embassy in Washington, asking to go home.
Meanwhile, Western observers have said that his disappearance from public view since last summer is an indication that he was forced to return by threats to his relatives.
It is not yet clear whether a planned Iranian television drama based on the official version of his story will be aired as scheduled this year, the paper said. (ANI)