NEW YORK, July 2 (JTA) The following is a timeline of key events in the trial of the “Iran 13”:
January-March 1999 13 Iranian Jews are arrested in the southern province of Fars.
June 7, 1999 The Iranian government charges the 13 Iranian Jews with spying for the United States and Israel. Both countries deny the charges, which are punishable by death. Israeli officials worry that the men may have been arrested simply for being Jewish.
Feb. 2, 2000 The Iranian government releases three of the prisoners on bail, amid announcements that a trial for all 13 is imminent. Advocates for the prisoners worry that the accused will not receive a fair trial, and that a trial is not likely to occur until after Iran’s upcoming elections.
March 15, 2000 It is announced that the remaining 10 prisoners will not be allowed to hire independent attorneys.
April 5, 2000 After an appeal by Iran’s leading rabbi, the Iranian judiciary announces it will allow all 13 Jews to hire their own lawyers.
April 13, 2000 The trial of the Iran 13 officially opens, but is postponed until May 1, after Passover.
May 1, 2000 The alleged leader of the Iran 13, Hamid “Dani” Tefileen confesses to spying for Israel on state television. More of the prisoners make ‘confessions’ in the following week. By the end of the month, eight prisoners plead guilty, one admits to some activities but not spying and four plead not guilty, including the three released earlier on bail.
June 13, 2000 Four of the prisoners retract their “confessions,” while a Muslim accused of collaborating with the Jews also denies the charge.
July 1, 2000 Ten of the Iranian Jews are convicted of spying for Israel and sentenced to prison terms of four to 13 years, drawing condemnation from Israel and President Clinton. The judge, who also acted as prosecutor, acquits the three other Jews. The defense lawyer vows to appeal.