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US detention of Iranian scientist amounts to 'war crime'

Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani

An American political analyst says President Trump administration is holding Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani hostage to gain leverage over the Islamic Republic through "diplomatic extortion".

In an article sent to Press TV on Saturday, Scott Bennett, a former US military psychological warfare officer and State Department contractor, said that Soleimani's imprisonment not only violates the US Constitution and the UN rights treaty, but also destroys Washington's credibility.

Bennett said holding the Iranian scientist hostage constitutes "a war crime."

"With the recent kidnapping, arrest, torture, and indefinite imprisonment—without charge—of ...  Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani, the notoriously pro-Zionist agents within the US Department of Justice are continuing their conspiratorial DEEP STATE agenda of removing President Donald Trump by intentionally destroying US-Iranian relations and pushing for war," he said.

"Besides a gross violation of the US Constitution and the UN International Treaty on Human Rights, this abusive perversion of the legal system is simultaneously destroying the credibility and legitimacy of the United States in the eyes of the world.  It is nothing less than an attempt to obtain political leverage through diplomatic extortion, and as such, a declaration of diplomatic war—which is a war crime," he added.

In his article, entitle "The Death of American Freedom," Bennett also accused the US government of strangling the sovereignty and freedom of independent nations using "the noose of sanctions" and subjecting their citizens to harassment, imprisonment, and torture.

He further warned that Soleimani's detention could prove to be the model or standard by which the Americans will themselves be treated when they travel abroad. 

"Conceivably, Americans who have friends or family who might be somewhat significant or prominent—or simply because they are Americans—could be equally targeted, imprisoned, tortured, and even executed as a reciprocal action to what the Department of Justice is doing to citizens of other nations foolish, unlucky, or courageous enough to visit America or speak truth against its war crimes and global hegemony agenda," Bennett said.

The political analyst also said the general feeling about Soleimani’s case is that the scholar is “definitely” being held hostage by the US government.

He also quoted the scientist's brother as saying, “How can a researcher and a physician, who does not have any criminal record and boasts numerous articles published in international circles, be placed in detention?”

"Ironically, if Americans don’t ask this same question, and correct this abuse, it will soon be them who will suffer the same treatment—in both the other nations of the world, and their own country," he added.

Soleimani, a professor and biomedical researcher at the Tarbiat Modares University (TMU) in Tehran, left Iran on sabbatical last year, but was arrested upon arrival in Chicago and transferred to prison in Atlanta, Georgia for unspecified reasons.

His brother has said in interviews that the only accusation facing him is that two of his students were arrested while departing the United States three years ago because they were carrying five vials of growth hormone. This is while such material is readily available on the market and not subject to sanctions.

The two students were charged in a court and released after posting bail because they held US citizenship.

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