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Russia Summons Iranian Ambassador For Journalist's Arrest In Tehran

Russian journalist Yulia Yuzik detained in Tehran on Oct 2, 2019

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' (IRGC) Intelligence Organization has detained a Russian journalist, Yulia Yuzik, her relatives disclosed on Friday, October 4.

Ms. Yuzik is currently behind bars in a prison run by the fearsome organization, her family said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador on Friday over the detention of Yuzik.

Another Russian news agency, Interfax, cited the Russian embassy's spokesman in Iran as saying that journalist Yulia Yuzik has been charged with working for Israeli security services.

Yuzik flew to Tehran upon a private invitation on September 29, Andrei Ganenko said, adding that the embassy found out about her detention only on Friday. "We have not yet received official notification from the local authorities," he said.

Since her arrest, Yuzik has been given only one minute to talk to her family in Moscow.

“I am sitting on the floor in my cell while having no connection with the outside world”, Yuzik told her family during the one-minute telephone conversation, adding that her trial was set for Saturday.

The journalist's daughter has also confirmed her mother's arrest in Tehran on Facebook.

Yuzik, who had earlier worked as a correspondent in Iran, was arrested at a hotel in Tehran on October 3, the Russian diplomatic mission's press officer told TASS.

Yuzik's ex-husband, journalist Boris Voitsekhovsky, told RFE/RL that she was accused of spying for Israel. This information has not been officially confirmed.

According to Voitsekhovsky, Yuzik faces ten years in prison if convicted.

He also said that Yuzik was arrested after she arrived in Tehran earlier this week on an unspecified invitation. Voitsekhovsky said that her passport had been confiscated by Iranian border control immediately after landing in Tehran.

Born in Russia's Rostov region in 1981, Yulia Yuzik gained prominence in 2003 with her book, Allah's Brides, about female suicide bombers in the mostly Muslim-populated Russian region of the North Caucasus. The book has been released in nine countries.

Yuzik earlier worked as a reporter for Komsomolskaya Pravda and Russian Newsweek journal. Since 2003, she has been conducting journalistic investigations.