International Affairs

Russian journalist arrested in Iran accused of spying for Israel

A Russian journalist has been arrested in Iran for allegedly spying on the Islamic Republic on behalf of Israel, according to reports.

Yulia Yuzik on instagram

Yulia Yuzik, 38, was first declared missing by family members who said she was detained in Tehran several days ago.

Her ex-husband Boris Voytsekhovskiy said in a message posted on Facebook that Yuzik faces trial Saturday on charges that she cooperated with Israeli intelligence services, according to the Times of Israel.

The Russian government summoned the Iranian ambassador on Friday to discuss Yuzik’s arrest, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to AFP.

“Due to the detention in Tehran of Russian citizen Yulia Yuzik, Iran’s ambassador has been invited to the foreign ministry to facilitate a quick clarification of the circumstances of the incident and the protection of the rights of the Russian citizen,” Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.

In a brief phone call with her mother Thursday night, Yuzik said security forces had broken into her hotel room and held her on suspicion of having ties to Israeli intelligence services, Voytsekhovskiy told Reuters.

“The representative of Russia’s consulate is now at the Iranian Foreign Ministry trying to resolve this issue,” he said, adding that Yuzik had been in Iran at least once before, when she spent several months working for a local media outlet.

“(This time) she just went there as a private person. She just went there, stayed at the hotel, chatted with local journalists,” he said, adding that her charges carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Voytsekhovskiy told Russian media that Yuzik used to work as a correspondent in Tehran several years ago, adding that she returned to the Iranian capital last week at the invitation of an unknown party.

He told Reuters that Yuzik did not hold joint Israeli citizenship or a visa for the country — and that she last visited Israel about 15 or 17 years ago to report on the Israeli army’s daily life for Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

According to the Russian Interfax news agency, Iranian authorities have not yet officially notified the Russian embassy in Tehran of the incident, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Yuzik, who has worked for the Russian version of Newsweek, authored two books, including “Beslan Dictionary,” which is based on testimony from survivors of a 2004 school massacre that claimed more than 330 lives, more than half of them children.


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