A spokesperson for Poland’s Nicolaus Copernicus University has confirmed in an interview with Radio Farda that one of the university’s professors, Matsey Walczak, has been imprisoned in Iran for almost a year.
“Unfortunately, I can confirm this information,” said the spokesperson, Martin Czyzniewski. “But this information is not new. Three professors of our university were arrested in September 2021. Two of them were released, but one of our professors is still imprisoned in Iran. We are in constant communication with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland and also with the family of this professor.”
Yesterday the state-run IRNA news agency and the Fars news agency, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, and Iran's state television, released footage produced by Revolutionary Guards intelligence that allegedly showed a UK deputy ambassador in Tehran and several others engaged in “espionage” and taking soil samples from military areas. The reports claimed these individuals had been arrested
The arrest of the British diplomat has since been debunked by Simon Shercliff, the serving UK ambassador to Iran, who said on Twitter that his deputy had left the country in December after completing his post.
But the Revolutionary Guards fit also said that Matsey Walczak, a university professor in Poland who had traveled to Iran as a tourist, was also among those arrested.
Mr. Valchak and his three colleagues are accused in the reports of taking soil samples from a desert area in Iran during a scientific exchange program. The reports said these action coincided with a missile test in Kerman province.
Nicolaus Copernicus University has since confirmed that Mr. Walczak has not left Iran since he was arrested there last summer and that he was sentenced to three years in prison. He is currently serving this sentence.
Before the Iranian news reports, Nicolaus Copernicus University and Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had decided to withhold news of the attest, the spokesperson said, arguing that it was in the detained Polish citizens’ interests.
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs described Mr. Walczak as a "recognized scientist,” in a short statement published on Thursday, and said he had access to consular and legal services in Iran. The Ministry added that no further information on the case will be released.
For years the Iranian government has arrested foreign citizens or dual nationals on various charges, including "espionage, cooperation with foreign security institutions, or acting against the regime,” and exchanged some of them with prisoners affiliated with the Islamic Republic abroad, or used them as leverage in geopolitical disputes.