French President Macron Demands Tehran Release French-Iranian Academic

On Friday June 5, 2020, French President Emmanuel Macron demanded Tehran release the Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah.

As we reported on May 16, 2020, Iran’s judiciary handed Adelkhah a five-year term for conspiring against national security and one year for propaganda.

One year ago, Farida Adelkhah was arbitrarily arrested in Iran. It is unacceptable that she is still in prison. My message to Iranian authorities: justice demands that our compatriot be immediately released.

Macron said in his tweet, which marked the one-year anniversary of Adelkhah’s arrest.

Adelkhah, 61, is a director of research at Sciences Po’s Centre for International Studies (CERI). She is a well-known anthropologist and researcher on Iran and Shiite Islam. She was detained in June 2019 along with her French colleague Roland Marchal.

On March 21, 2020, Iran freed Roland Marchal after a prisoner swap with France.

Prior to her arrest, Adelkhah had traveled frequently between the two countries and had spent nearly a year in Iran where her family lives.

Iran does not recognize dual nationality and has denied Adelkhah access to French consular staff and has rejected previous calls to release Adelkhah calling the demands amounted to interference in Tehran's internal affairs.

On December 24, 2019, Adelkhah went on a hunger strike with the Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert at Tehran’s Evin prison, according to Sciences Po. Adelkhah ended the hunger strike on February 12, 2020, after fears for her health were expressed. Eleven days later, she was admitted to the prison’s hospital for severe kidney damage.

“This ongoing situation can only have a negative impact on the bilateral relations between France and Iran, and can only significantly reduce the trust between our two countries,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement on June 4, 2020.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide joins President Emmanuel Macron and other likeminded groups and individuals in demanding the immediate release of Fariba Adelkhah. We deplore and condemn the ongoing detention of the French-Iranian academic and urge the officials of the Iranian government to end the tactic of taking of dual citizen scholars and students hostage for political gains; and to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights.

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