Iran detains Slovak hang-glider group: Slovak media

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 28, 2013 12:48 PM

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A group of five or six Slovak hang-glider enthusiasts has been detained in Iran on suspicion of espionage, the Slovak news website www.sme.sk said on Friday.

The Slovak foreign ministry said it knew of the case but refused to confirm any details or the number of detainees. There was no immediate comment from Iranian authorities.

"We are aware of this case and I assure you that we are taking all necessary steps," Slovak foreign ministry spokesman Boris Gandel said. "There has been no decision on this so far."

Sme.sk said the group had traveled to Iran in late May for a "planned expedition" and were detained some three weeks ago.

They were accused of taking photographs, including of military installations, from a hang glider, sme.sk said.

In 2011, Iran freed two U.S. citizens - Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer - who had been sentenced to eight years in jail for spying after being arrested while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border in 2009. They denied being spies. Neighboring Oman helped secure their release by posting bail of $1 million.

A third person detained with them, Sarah Shourd, was freed in 2010, also by way of Oman.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Mark Heinrich)