The prosecutor’s office in Shiraz today announced prison sentences for a group of people who "collaborated" with the Born to Freedom Foundation, an organization that offers exorbitant rewards for conclusive information that could lead to the return of Ron Arad and other Israeli soldiers missing in action.
The sentences range from nine months to six years, Jaber Baneshi told ISNA, and a few other sentences are still being processed. He did not identify the accused.
Baneshi told reporters that Born to Freedom’s mandate is to "recruit spies for Israel."
Ron Arad, an Israeli co-pilot, crash landed in Lebanon on October 16, 1986. In 2006, Hassan Nasrollah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, said Arad was probably dead.
But a secret report from the Israeli army later surfaced, indicating that Arad had probably died from a disease in 1995 and was buried in Al-Baqqa in Lebanon.
Shiraz prosecutor said some Iranian citizens "interested in the financial aspect of the issue and the reward" have contacted the websites set up by the Born to Freedom Foundation. He added, however, that there is no evidence of the foundation having actually paid anyone.
Banehsi demanded that all the people who have contacted the group report to the authorities within the next month to avail themselves of "Islamic forgiveness."
He claimed several individuals collaborating with the foundation have been identified by the authroties but not arrested yet. He added that if they do not voluntarily report their contact to judiciary officials, they will face prosecution.
On January 31, Iran’s minister of intelligence announced that his ministry had identified a significant group of individuals who have contacted the Ron Arad foundation and "been deceived by this site."
Accusing the foundation of spying for Israel, the minister called on all Iranians who’d had any contact with the Born to Freedom Foundation websites to report to the authorities or face harsh confrontation from the judiciary.