October 2015 – Siamak Namazi, a Dubai-based businessman with dual US and Iranian citizenship, is detained while visiting relatives in Tehran.
February 2018 – Baquer Namazi is released on temporary medical furlough.
May 2020 – According to the family, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) places a new travel ban on Baquer Namazi, preventing him from leaving the country.
October 26, 2021 – Baquer Namazi undergoes surgery to clear a “life-threatening blockage in one of the main arteries to his brain, which was discovered late last month,” his lawyer says in a statement.
December 2016 – Karan Vafadari’s family announces that Karan and his wife, Afarin Niasari, were detained at Tehran airport in July. Vafadari, an Iranian-American, and Niasari, a green-card holder, ran an art gallery in Tehran.
January 2018 – Vafadari is sentenced to 27 years in prison. Niasari is sentenced to 16 years.
February 17, 2022 – Two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist and WBNA star Brittney Griner is taken into custody following a customs screening at Sheremetyevo Airport. Russian authorities said Griner had cannabis oil in her luggage and accused her of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance, an offense the Russian government says is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
December 28, 2018 – Paul Whelan, from Michigan, a retired Marine and corporate security director, is arrested on accusations of spying. His family says he was in Moscow to attend a wedding.
November 2017 – Dual US-Saudi citizen Dr. Walid Fitaihi is detained at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh along with other prominent Saudis, according to his lawyer Howard Cooper. Fitaihi is then transferred to prison.
December 8, 2020 – Fitaihi is sentenced to six years in prison for charges including obtaining US citizenship without permission.
January 14, 2021 – A Saudi appeals court upholds Fitaihi’s conviction but reduces his sentence to 3.2 years and suspends his remaining prison term. Fitaihi still faces a travel ban and frozen assets.
August 2012 – Tice disappears while reporting near the Syrian capital of Damascus. The Syrian government has never acknowledged that they have Tice in their custody.
February 2017 – Kamalmaz is detained at a checkpoint in Damascus. The Syrian government has never acknowledged that they have Kamalmaz in their custody.
Airan Berry and Luke Denman
August 7, 2020 – Prosecutors announce that Berry and Denman have been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
April 30, 2021 – The men are released from prison to house arrest.
Formerly Detained Americans
December 2009 – Alan Gross is jailed while working as a subcontractor on a US Agency for International Development project aimed at spreading democracy. His actions are deemed illegal by Cuban authorities. He is accused of trying to set up illegal internet connections on the island. Gross says he was trying to help connect the Jewish community to the internet and was not a threat to the government.
March 12, 2011 – Gross is found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the Cuban state.
16 American NGO Employees
December 2011 – Egyptian authorities carry out 17 raids on the offices of 10 nongovernmental organizations. The Egyptian general prosecutor’s office claims the raids were part of an investigation into allegations the groups had received illegal foreign financing and were operating without a proper license.
February 5, 2012 – Forty-three people face prosecution in an Egyptian criminal court on charges of illegal foreign funding as part of an ongoing crackdown on NGOs. Among the American defendants is Sam LaHood, International Republican Institute country director and the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
February 15, 2012 – The US State Department confirms there are 16 Americans being held, not 19 as the Egyptian government announced.
March 1, 2012 – Some of the 43 detainees including American, Norwegian, German, Serbian and Palestinian activists leave Cairo after each post two-million Egyptian pounds bail.
April 20, 2012 – CNN is told Egyptian officials have filed global arrest notices with Interpol for some of the Americans involved in the NGO trial.
September 26, 2012 – According to the American Center for Law and Justice, Saeed Abedini, an American Christian pastor who was born in Iran and lives in Idaho, is detained in Iran. The group says that Abedini’s charges stem from his conversion to Christianity from Islam 13 years ago and his activities with home churches in Iran.
Amir Mirzaei Hekmati
August 2011 – Amir Mirzaei Hekmati travels to Iran to visit relatives and gets detained by authorities, according to his family. His arrest isn’t made public for months.
December 17, 2011 – Iran’s Intelligence Ministry claims to have arrested an Iranian-American working as a CIA agent, according to state-run Press TV.
December 19, 2011 – The US State Department confirms the identity of the man detained in Iran and calls for his immediate release.
December 20, 2011 – Hekmati’s family says that he was arrested in August while visiting relatives in Iran. The family asserts that they remained quiet about the arrest at the urging of Iranian officials who promised his release.
December 27, 2011 – Hekmati’s trial begins in Iran. Prosecutors accuse Hekmati of entering Iran with the intention of infiltrating the country’s intelligence system in order to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorist activities, according to the Fars news agency.
January 9, 2012 – An Iranian news agency reports that Hekmati is convicted of “working for an enemy country,” as well as membership in the CIA and “efforts to accuse Iran of involvement in terrorism.” He is sentenced to death.
July 24, 2014 – The Washington Post reports that its Tehran correspondent and Bureau Chief Jason Rezaian, his wife Yeganeh Salehi and two freelance journalists were detained on July 22, 2014. An Iranian official confirmed to CNN that the group is being held by authorities.
August 20, 2014 – The Washington Post reports the photojournalist detained with Rezaian in July has been released. At her family’s request, the Post declines to publish her name.
October 6, 2014 – According to the Washington Post, Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, has been released on bail.
April 20, 2015 – According the Washington Post, Rezaian is being charged with espionage and other serious crimes including “collaborating with a hostile government” and “propaganda against the establishment.”
May 1, 2018 – Joins CNN as a global affairs analyst.
Reza “Robin” Shahini
July 11, 2016 – San Diego resident Reza “Robin” Shahini is arrested while visiting family in Gorgan, Iran. Shahini is a dual US-Iranian citizen.
October 2016 – Shahini is sentenced to 18 years in prison.
July 2018 – A civil lawsuit filed against the Iranian government on Shahini’s behalf indicates that Shahini has returned to the United States.
July 31, 2009 – Three graduates from the University of California at Berkeley, Sarah Shourd of Oakland, California, Shane Bauer, of Emeryville, California, and Joshua Fattal, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, are detained in Iran after hiking along the unmarked Iran-Iraq border in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.
October 2009 – The Iranian government allows a Swiss diplomat to visit the hikers at Evin Prison.
November 9, 2009 – Iran charges the three with espionage.
March 9, 2010 – The families of the three detained hikers speak by phone to the hikers for the first time since they were jailed.
May 20, 2010 – The detainees’ mothers are allowed to visit their children.
May 21, 2010 – The mothers are allowed a second visit, and the detained hikers speak publicly for the first time at a government-controlled news conference.
August 5, 2010 – Reports surface that Shourd is being denied medical treatment.
September 14, 2010 – Shourd is released on humanitarian grounds on $500,000 bail.
November 27, 2010 – Two days after Thanksgiving, Fattal and Bauer are allowed to call home for the second time. Each call lasts about five minutes.
February 6, 2011 – Fattal and Bauer’s trial begins. Shourd has not responded to a court summons to return to stand trial.
May 4, 2011 – Shourd announces she will not return to Tehran to face espionage charges.
August 20, 2011 – Fattal and Bauer each receive five years for spying and three years for illegal entry, according to state-run TV. They have 20 days to appeal.
September 14, 2011 – A Western diplomat tells CNN an Omani official is en route to Tehran to help negotiate the release of Fattal and Bauer. Oman helped secure the release of Shourd in 2010.
September 21, 2011 – Fattal and Bauer are released from prison on bail of $500,000 each and their sentences are commuted. On September 25, they arrive back in the United States.
July 16, 2017 – The semi-official news agency Fars News, citing a video statement from Iranian judicial spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejheie, reports that a US citizen has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of spying. Princeton University identifies the man as Chinese-born Xiyue Wang, an American citizen and graduate student in history. According to a university statement, Wang was arrested in Iran last summer while doing scholarly research in connection with his Ph.D. dissertation.
January 8, 2019 – Michael White’s mother, Joanne White, tells CNN she reported him missing when he failed to return to work in California in July, after traveling to Iran to visit his girlfriend.
December 11, 2012 – US officials confirm that American citizen Kenneth Bae has been detained in North Korea for over a month.
October 11, 2013 – Bae meets with his mother in North Korea.
June 6, 2014 – North Korea announces it has detained US citizen Jeffrey Edward Fowle, who entered the country as a tourist in April. Fowle was part of a tour group and was detained in mid-May after leaving a bible in a restaurant.
January 25, 2010 – Aijalon Mahli Gomes, of Boston, is detained in North Korea after crossing into the country illegally from China.
July 10, 2010 – Gomes is hospitalized after attempting to commit suicide.
August 27, 2010 – Carter and Gomes leave Pyongyang after Gomes is granted amnesty for humanitarian purposes.
October 2015 – Kim Dong Chul, a naturalized American citizen, is taken into custody after allegedly meeting a source to obtain a USB stick and camera used to gather military secrets. In January 2016, Kim is given permission to speak with CNN by North Korean officials and asks that the United States or South Korea rescue him.
April 29, 2016 – A North Korean official tells CNN that Kim has been sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for subversion and espionage.
May 7, 2017 – The state-run Korean Central News Agency reports that US citizen Kim Hak-song was detained in North Korea on May 6 on suspicion of “hostile acts” against the regime. The regime describes Kim as “a man who was doing business in relation to the operation of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.”
April 22, 2017 – US citizen Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim, is detained by authorities at Pyongyang International Airport for unknown reasons. Kim taught for several weeks at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.
Euna Lee and Laura Ling
March 2009 – Journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling are arrested while reporting from the border between North Korea and China for California-based Current Media.
June 4, 2009 – They are sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of entering the country illegally to conduct a smear campaign.
April 25, 2014 – North Korea’s news agency reports that Matthew Todd Miller was taken into custody on April 10. According to KCNA, Miller entered North Korea seeking asylum and tour up his tourist visa.
October 26, 2013 – Merrill Newman of Palo Alto, California, is detained in North Korea, according to his family. Just minutes before his plane is to depart, Newman is removed from the flight by North Korean authorities, his family says.
November 22, 2013 – The US State Department says North Korea has confirmed to Swedish diplomats that it is holding an American citizen. The State Department has declined to confirm the identity of the citizen, citing privacy issues, but the family of Newman says the Korean War veteran and retired financial consultant has been detained since October.
Eddie Yong Su Jun
April 14, 2011 – The KCNA reports that US citizen Eddie Yong Su Jun was arrested in November 2010 and has been under investigation for committing a crime against North Korea. No details are provided on the alleged crime.
May 27, 2011 – Following a visit from the US delegation which includes the special envoy for North Korean human rights, Robert King, and the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the US Agency for International Development, Jon Brause, to North Korea, Yong Su Jun is released.
January 2, 2016 – Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia college student, is detained in North Korea after being accused of a “hostile act” against the government.
June 19, 2017 – Warmbier’s family issues a statement that he has died.
2019 – While visiting a longtime girlfriend, Trevor Reed is taken into custody after a night of heavy drinking according to state-run news agency TASS and Reed’s family. Police tell state-run news agency RIA-Novosti that Reed was involved in an altercation with two women and a police unit that arrived at the scene following complaints of a disturbance. Police allege Reed resisted arrest, attacked the driver, hit another policeman, caused the car to swerve by grabbing the wheel and created a hazardous situation on the road, RIA stated.
June 14, 2022 – Reed tells CNN that he has filed a petition with the United Nations (UN), declaring that Russia violated international law with his detention and poor treatment.
July 2016 – While on vacation in Turkey, Serkan Golge is arrested and accused of having links to the Gulenist movement. Golge is a 37-year-old NASA physicist who holds dual Turkish-US citizenship.
February 8, 2018 – Golge is sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.
September 2018 – A Turkish court reduces Golge’s prison sentence to five years.
October 2016 – Andrew Brunson, a North Carolina native, is arrested in Izmir on Turkey’s Aegean coast, where he is pastor at the Izmir Resurrection Church. Brunson, an evangelical Presbyterian pastor, is later charged with plotting to overthrow the Turkish government, disrupting the constitutional order and espionage.
March 2018 – A formal indictment charges Brunson with espionage and having links to terrorist organizations.
Timothy Hallett Tracy
April 24, 2013 – Timothy Hallett Tracy, of Los Angeles, is arrested at the Caracas airport, according to Reporters Without Borders. Tracy traveled to Venezuela to make a documentary about the political division gripping the country.
May 26, 2018 – Joshua Holt and his Venezuelan wife, Thamara Holt, are released by Venezuela. The two had been imprisoned there since 2016. The American traveled to Venezuela to marry Thamara in 2016, and shortly afterward was accused by the Venezuelan government of stockpiling weapons and attempting to destabilize the government. He was held for almost two years with no trial.