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British businessman Andrew Pyke, held in Iran without charge...

By
SAJID RIZVI, United Press International

British businessman Andrew Pyke, held in Iran without charge for 510 days, flew out of Tehran today leaving behind two other imprisoned Britons, the British Foreign Office said.

The Foreign Office in London said Pyke was aboard an Iran Air flight which left Tehran for Athens.

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A spokesman for the prosecutor's office at Mehrabad Airport in Tehran said instructions for granting Pyke permissionto leave Iran were conveyed to the office today.

Pyke, 42, was arrested Aug. 27, 1980 as he was leaving Iran. Iranian authorities accused him of spying at the height of an anti-Western campaign that coincided with the seizure of the American hostages. But Pyke never was charged.

The freeing of the American hostages on Jan. 20, 1981 raised hopes of Pyke's imminent release.

But when Iran released three British missionaries Feb. 28, 1981, Pyke did not accompany them on the flight home. His family saw him in the Karaj prison 20 miles west of Tehran shortly before Christmas last year.

Pyke was released Jan. 28 and, until he left today, remained within the compound of the Swedish Embassy's British interest section, a building which formerly was the British Embassy in Tehran.

Iran's Islamic news agency said Pyke was released on bail to guarantee his return to Iran to face trial on charges of financial irregularities involving his company, Helicopter Services Lt.

Western diplomats, however, doubted if Iranian authorities would insist on Pyke returning to Iran to face the charges, which remained unspecified.

Two other Britons were still in Iranian prisons, both held without charge.

Businessman Frank Skinner, 53, was seized April 27, 1981, and John Bowden, 46, was taken prisoner in November 1981.

Diplomats said there was no indication when the two would be released.

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