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UK counter-terror cops probe Persian-language journalist stabbing

By AFP

March 30, 2024 10:03 AM


Staff photo of Iranian journalist.

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Counter-terrorism officers are investigating the stabbing Friday of a journalist working for UK-based independent Iranian media, following previous hostile threats by Iran against perceived opponents in Britain, London police said.

Officers found the victim -- a man in his 30s -- at an address in Wimbledon, in the southwest of the British capital, with injuries to his leg from an attack, the Metropolitan Police said.

He was taken to hospital, where he is in a stable condition not believed to be life-threatening, it added.

The force said the motive for the attack was unclear and officers were keeping "an open mind", but that "the victim's occupation as a journalist at a Persian-language media organisation based in the UK" was being probed.

It noted there have been "a number of threats directed towards this group of journalists in recent times".

"Given the occupation of the victim and our publicised concerns about the threat to employees of that organisation, the investigation is being led by the Counter Terrorism Command," Dominic Murphy, who heads the unit, said.

He added detectives were still assessing "the circumstances" of the incident and following "a number of lines of enquiry".

Murphy said there would be additional patrols in Wimbledon and other London sites over the coming days to reassure those concerned.

The Met has for several years been investigating threats from Iran targeting UK-based journalists for Persian-language media outlets.

The force has disrupted what it has called plots to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of Tehran.

An Austrian national was convicted last December of spying for a group that may have been preparing to attack Persian-language channel Iran International.

The Iranian government has declared the outlet a terrorist organisation after it reported on protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

She died in September 2022 after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

The UK government last year unveiled a tougher sanctions regime against Iran over alleged human rights violations and hostile actions against its opponents on UK soil.


AFP


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