A U.S. navy veteran has been sentenced to 10 years in an Iranian prison, his family's lawyer said, after he was arrested last July while visiting an Iranian woman in the city of Mashhad.
Mark Zaid, a lawyer representing White's family, on Thursday said he learned Monday that White, who worked in Navy Aviation maintenance administration for 13 years, was convicted in a trial without notice beforehand and given a local lawyer to represent him who did not speak English.
White's family learned of the sentencing earlier this week from the US State Department, which in turn received the information from Swiss diplomats.
White's arrest has further strained the hard relationship between the Trump administration and Iran, which worsened after Donald Trump withdrew from an worldwide agreement curbing Iran's nuclear program and re-imposed sanctions.
This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. The second charge appears to have been leveled after White uploaded a picture of himself sitting with the woman, an Iranian national, Zaid said.
White, 46, a native of San Diego, was arrested last July in Mashhad, Iran during his third visit with the woman.
The New York Times, which first reported the sentencing, said White had been given two court hearings, on March 6 and March 9. "It's unclear at this time whether Michael is simply an unfortunate foreigner caught in a very different legal system or being used as a political pawn".
Iranian-American Siamak Namazi and his octogenarian father Baquer, a former UNICEF representative who served as governor of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province under the US -backed shah, are both serving 10-year sentences on espionage charges. He was sentenced to 10 years on espionage-related charges.
Graduate student Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly "infiltrating" the country while doing doctoral research on Iran's Qajar dynasty. A fourth, Robert Levinson, has been missing in Iran since 2007.
Iranian-American Robin Shahini was released on bail in 2017 after staging a hunger strike while serving an 18-year prison sentence for "collaboration with a hostile government".