Polish professor held in Iran for spying since LAST YEAR after ‘caught taking soil samples’ at missile test site

Microbiologist Maciej Walczak (R) from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń was seized along with several others including a British diplomat while taking soil samples in what authorities describe as a restricted area where rocket tests were being held. /Twitter

Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that a Polish professor has been detained in Iran since September 2021 on charges of espionage.

Microbiologist Maciej Walczak from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń was seized along with several others including a British diplomat while taking soil samples in a restricted area where rocket tests were being held.

Posting videos and photos online, Iranian state television reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had arrested the group for alleged acts of espionage, saying: “These spies were taking earth samples in Iran's central desert where the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace missile exercises were conducted.” Twitter

Posting videos and photos online, Iranian state television reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had arrested the group for alleged acts of espionage, saying: "These spies were taking earth samples in Iran's central desert where the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace missile exercises were conducted.”

The TV report ran footage allegedly showing Professor Walczak and colleagues collecting samples during a scientific exchange programme.

It added that their sample collection coincided with a missile test in Iran's southern Kerman province.

Professor Walczak from the Kopernik University’s Department of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology maintains that he was in Iran as a tourist.UMK

According to the Kopernik university, two other staff members detained by Iranian security forces had since managed to return to Poland.

Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now confirmed the arrest of the Polish scientist and that consular services have been in contact with the man and his family.

They added that he was being provided with legal assistance and that diplomatic efforts were underway to return him to Poland ‘as quickly as possible’.

Iran has arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners in recent years, mostly on espionage and security-related charges.PAP

The ministry said: “We are also coordinating further steps with allied countries.”

Professor Walczak from the Kopernik University’s Department of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology maintains that he was in Iran as a tourist.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners in recent years, mostly on espionage and security-related charges.