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Source: Reuters

Feb 26, 2023

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares (file photo)

MADRID, Feb 26 (Reuters) - A Spanish woman imprisoned in Iran since November on espionage charges after she was arrested during anti-government protests in November has been released, the Spanish Foreign Minister said on Sunday.

An activist who works for a human rights NGO, 24-year-old Ana Baneira Suarez was detained in Iran during nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody of a young woman in September.

"My congratulations for the release of Ana Baneira. She is in good health," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told journalists during a visit to Albacete, in central Spain.

Baneira was released on Saturday and was on her way back to Spain on Sunday, he said.

The Iranian government did not respond to requests for comment on Baneira's release.

Albares said that another Spanish citizen, Santiago Sanchez Cogedor, was still in Iranian custody but that he hoped for his release soon.

Sanchez Cogedor, 41, a football fan who decided to walk to the World Cup in Qatar but was detained in Iran on Oct.2. Like Baneira, he was accused of espionage.

Iran, which has blamed "foreign adversaries" for protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.

In September, Tehran said nine Europeans had been arrested for their involvement in the protests.

Reporting by Graham Keeley Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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