Iran confirms again imprisoning French-Iranian academic

January 16, 2022 GMT

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran confirmed on Sunday that it has again imprisoned a French-Iranian researcher and anthropologist who had been furloughed with electronic monitoring bracelet, state media reported.

The judiciary news website quoted deputy head of the judiciary Kazem Gharibabadi as saying the prisoner, Fariba Adelkhah, “dozens of times” violated judicial restrictions during her furlough.

Gharibabadi said Adelkhah was aware of the restrictions.

On Thursday, France’s foreign ministry condemned Adelkhah’s recent new imprisonment and demanded her immediate release, saying her case has negative consequences on the relationship between Paris and Tehran.

Gharibabadi said Iran’s judiciary considers Adelkhah an Iranian national. Iran does not recognize dual nationality.

Adelkhah was given a five-year sentence for “gathering and collusion” against Iran’s security after her arrest in 2019. She was granted a furlough with no deadline in October 2020 and was required to stay at her sister’s house in Tehran, wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.

In addition to Adelkhah, French tourist Benjamin Brière, 36, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2020 after taking pictures in a desert area where photography is prohibited and asking questions on social media about Iran’s obligatory Islamic headscarfs for women.

Brière was charged in March this year with spying and “spreading propaganda against the system.” He began a hunger strike in late December to protest his mistreatment in prison, according to his sister and his lawyer.

Rights groups accuse hard-liners in Iran’s security agencies of using foreign detainees as bargaining chips for money or influence in negotiations with the West. Tehran denies it, though there have been such prisoner exchanges in the past.

In March 2020, Iran and France swapped French researcher Roland Marchal for Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad. Marchal was arrested in June 2019 alongside Adelkhah.