Ten years ago, Niloufar Bayani spent long day summer days on a boat in the St. Lawrence River near Montreal, researching invasive species — the zebra mussel and the round goby, a bottom-dwelling fish.

Today, Bayani is sitting in Iran’s notorious Evin prison facing an espionage charge that carries a death sentence.

She was arrested by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards 10 months ago with eight other environmental activists tracking the endangered Asiatic cheetah.

“I’m worried about her safety,” said Anthony Ricciardi, a McGill University biologist for whom Bayani was a research assistant.

The Canadian government says it is “deeply concerned” about Bayani’s detention.

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