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AK-47 gunman arrested near Iranian journalist’s home in Brooklyn

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A man has been arrested after being found with an assault rifle outside the Brooklyn home of an Iranian-American journalist who was previously the target of a brazen kidnapping plot by Iranian intelligence agents, according to court documents and the journalist.

Masih Alinejad, an exiled journalist and women’s rights advocate living in New York, has long been a critic of the regime in Tehran. Last year, four Iranians were accused of conspiring to abduct him and bring him to the Middle Eastern country, possibly via a daring sea evacuation. (Iranian officials dismissed the allegations at the time as “baseless.”)

Iranian intelligence agents plotted brazen kidnapping of dissident Brooklyn reporter, US prosecutors say

Alinejad has not been identified by prosecutors, but on Sunday she said she was the intended target in the incident last week. post a video on twitter she said showed the man outside her house. The video, in which the weapon was not visible, appears to have been captured by a doorbell camera.

“Last year the FBI stopped the Islamic Republic from kidnapping me. My crime is giving voice to the voiceless. The US administration must be tough on terrorism,” she wrote on Twitter. .

According to a criminal complaint filed Friday in federal district court in Manhattan, the suspect, Khalid Mehdiyev, was observed by law enforcement officials near a home in Brooklyn on Wednesday and Thursday.

He ‘behaved in a suspicious manner’ during that time, the complaint reads, getting in and out of a gray Subaru Forester SUV several times, ordering food into the vehicle and appearing to attempt to look inside. windows of the house.

He was pulled over by nearby New York City police on Thursday afternoon, after he failed to stop at a stop sign and was discovered to be driving without a license.

During a subsequent search of the vehicle, investigators found a loaded AK-47-style assault rifle in a suitcase in the back seat, according to the court document, along with Mehdiyev’s ID showing an address. personal in Yonkers. The rifle’s serial number appeared to have been destroyed, but markings indicated it was made by Norinco, a Chinese state-owned firearms and military supplies manufacturer.

The suitcase also contained $1,100 in hundred-dollar bills, according to investigators.

According to the criminal complaint, Mehdiyev initially said he knew nothing about a gun and the suitcase was not his. He told investigators he had borrowed the vehicle and placed his wallet and other personal items in the front pocket of the suitcase to “keep” them.

In an interview with law enforcement officials, he said he was in Brooklyn looking for accommodation and tried to open the door to the residence to knock on a door interior to ask if the inhabitants would rent him a room. He told investigators he changed his mind because he thought he might wake up a sleeping or sick occupant, according to the court document.

But later, according to the complaint, he called investigators back and told them the AK-47 was his and he was in Brooklyn looking for someone.

Mehdiyev was charged with one count of possession of a firearm with a destroyed serial number and held without bail. His attorney, Stephanie Carvlin, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday night.

Several exiled Iranian dissidents have disappeared under mysterious circumstances in recent years, although threats such as those Alinejad allegedly faced on US soil are particularly rare.

Alinejad, a longtime critic of Tehran’s theocratic government, received a human rights award in Geneva in 2015 for creating a Facebook page inviting women in Iran, where the hijab is compulsory, to post photos of them without their headscarves. She is a prominent figure on overseas Farsi satellite channels that watch Iran critically.

Last month, she wrote in a Washington Post column that Instagram restricted her account after a video she shared that criticized the Iranian government went viral; it has been viewed 2.8 million times on Instagram and more more than 1 million times on Twitter. An Instagram representative said at the time that the restriction was placed “incorrectly due to a technical issue”.

Alinejad tweeted on Sunday that she was “shocked to hear an assassin with a loaded AK-47 came to my house in Brooklyn.” She added, “I’m grateful to the federal agents, but the administration needs to do more to protect American citizens.”



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