NEW YORK: A New York man was indicted on Friday over charges he possessed a loaded AK-47 rifle outside the home of an Iranian-American journalist and rights activist.

The defendant, Khalid Mehdiyev, spent two days late last month outside the Brooklyn home of journalist Masih Alinejad, and once tried opening the door, an FBI agent wrote in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

Alinejad has been a critic of Iran’s headcovering laws and has promoted videos of women violating the laws to her millions of social media followers. Last year she was the target of what US prosecutors called a Tehran-backed kidnapping plot.

Mehdiyev was indicted on Thursday for possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Prosecutors are also seeking to have Mehdiyev forfeit the gun and the ammunition.

Last year, prosecutors charged four Iranians they alleged to have been intelligence operatives with plotting to kidnap Alinejad. Tehran has dismissed allegations of government involvement as “baseless”.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022

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