German reporter says he was beaten in Iran

BERLIN (AP) — A German reporter says he was beaten by guards during
his nearly five months of imprisonment in Iran and that he heard
constant, "horrible cries" of other inmates being tortured.

In the
first public comment since being freed a year ago, Marcus Hellwig told
the Sunday mass-circulation tabloid Bild am Sonntag he was regularly
beaten and constantly interrogated during the first 10 "brutal" days in
captivity until a German diplomat intervened.

"Sometimes they
claimed that I was a spy, then allegedly a terrorist," he was quoted as
saying. "They wanted to unsettle me with their never-ending questioning,
wanted to put me under psychological pressure and create an ambiance of
fear," he said.

Hellwig and German photographer Jens Koch — both
working for Bild am Sonntag — had entered Iran on tourist visas and were
detained in October 2010 after interviewing the son of Sakineh
Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for

Her case had generated widespread international outrage.

two journalists were freed a year ago after German Foreign Minister
Guido Westerwelle traveled to Tehran for a rare meeting with Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then brought the pair home on his
government plane.

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