A U.S. Navy veteran who was first detained in Iran while visiting a girlfriend has been sentenced to 10 years in prison there on charges of ‘insulting the country’s supreme leader’ and ‘posting a photo on social media’, his lawyer said on Friday.
Michael White served in the Navy for 13 years and is the first American to be detained in Iran since President Trump took office. White’s family told the paper he had traveled to Iran to visit a woman he had met online.
The 46-year-old Navy vet from Imperial City, Calif., was sentenced to two years in prison for insulting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei the country’s top leader, and 10 years for posting a private photo, Zaid said. It appeared the sentences were to run concurrently, Mark Zaid, White’s attorney. said, according to the New York Times.
U.S. State Department officials informed Michael White’s family about the sentence after receiving the information from the Swiss government, which represents U.S. interests in Iran, according to White’s attorney.
White’s mother, Joanne White, said she fears that her son health is failing. He suffers from an unspecified form of cancer and recently received chemotherapy, but he needs access to further medical care, according to his mother, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to Fox News, U.S. government efforts to get the Navy vet released could, unfortunately, face difficulties given the relationship between Washington and Tehran after the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal last year.
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