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Farzad Bazoft
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Commentator
    (May 22, 1958-March 15, 1990)
    Born in Iran
    Came to the United Kingdom at age 16
    Freelance journalist for The Observer
    Arrested in Iraq (September, 1989)
    Convicted of spying for Israel (March 10, 1990)
    Executed by hanging
    He robbed a savings and loan in London of $760 and served a year in prison (1981).
    He was deported from Tunis after being accused of spying on PLO headquarters for Israel (May, 1989).
    The British government took minimal actions against Iraq over the execution (such as recalling its ambassador) in order to avoid risking British exports, using the fact that Bazoft was an Iranian citizen as a justification.
    He had been invited, with other journalists, to Iraq to report on elections in Kurdistan.
    While in Baghdad, he learned about an explosion at an Iraqi military facility rumored to be part of a secret missile development program, and set off to investigate it in hopes of landing a scoop.
    Observer editor Donald Trelford said, ‘He said in advance the story he was going to do. He told the Baghdad government where he wanted to go. ... This is not the action of a spy, this is the action of a reporter.’
    He was beaten and tortured before being trotted out in front of TV cameras to make a ‘confession.’
    His trial lasted one day and was held in secret.
    Years later, the officer in the Iraqi intelligence service who conducted the initial interrogation of him admitted that Bazoft was innocent, but Saddam Hussein had ordered that he be convicted and executed.

Credit: C. Fishel


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