2nd Spaniard arrested in Iran amid protests; Italian freed

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish woman has been arrested in Iran, the second Spaniard in just over a month to be detained there amid mass unrest, Spain’s foreign ministry said Thursday. Separately, an Italian woman who was detained last week was freed.

The Spanish Embassy in Tehran is following the case and is in touch with the family of 24-year-old Ana Baneira, the foreign ministry said. It declined to provide further details.

The embassy is also dealing with the case of a Spanish man who was trekking from Madrid to Doha for the 2022 FIFA World Cup when he is believed to have been arrested in Iran early last month.

Spanish diplomats are in touch with Iranian authorities about 41-year-old trekker Santiago Sanchez, according to the foreign ministry.

In Rome, Premier Giorgia Meloni announced the release of another foreigner detained amid the protests, Alessia Piperno, and said she was “coming home.” Italian news reports said Piperno had made social media posts in solidarity with the protests over the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by morality police after allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

The ensuing outcry has developed into a challenge to the nation’s theocracy.

At least 328 people have been killed and 14,825 others arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that’s been monitoring the protests.

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