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Iran Frees Spanish Woman Detained 3 Months Ago over Anti-hijab Protests

Ana Baneira Suarez, 24, was arrested in Iran during nationwide protests

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

IRAN/SPAIN: Iran has freed a Spanish woman, Ana Baneira, who had been held since November last year following her arrest during the nationwide anti-government demonstrations, Spain’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

The minister, Jose Manuel Albares, said, “She was freed yesterday, but we didn’t want to announce it publicly before her plane had taken off from Iran.”

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“I was able to speak with her… She is well,” he said, adding she was on her way home to Galicia, in northwest Spain. 24-year-old Ana Baneira Suarez, a human rights activist who works for an NGO, was imprisoned in Iran during national demonstrations. 

Although Iranian authorities never confirmed the details of her arrest, it took place as the nation was roiled by demonstrations following the death of Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa Amini, who had been detained for allegedly flouting the country’s stringent dress code for women.

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According to AFP, Baneira’s family expressed their happiness at her release after weeks of holding out and pleaded with the public to respect their privacy.

Another Spanish national, age 41, who is said to be a football fan and chose to walk to the World Cup in Qatar, was detained and charged with espionage after being apprehended on October 2. The Spanish foreign minister talked about the case and vowed to keep working to ensure Cogedor’s release.

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Albares said, “Today is a happy day, but our happiness will be complete when Santiago is also freed,” adding that he will keep trying to ensure his release.

The country has blamed “foreign adversaries” for demonstrations sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death. In September, Tehran reported that nine Europeans had been detained for their participation in protests.

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