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Paris Confirms Iran has Detained Second French Researcher

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

On October 16, 2019, France confirmed that a second French academic is being detained in Iran. They have condemned the arrest as “an unacceptable situation.”

Fariba Adelkhah, French-Iranian anthropologist, and Roland Marchal, French sociologist: the two members of CERI-Sciences Po have been held in Iran since the summer. • Credits: Political Societies Analysis Fund (Fasapo)

Roland Marchal was arrested in June at the same time as Fariba Adelkhah [LINK], a dual French and Iranian citizen, according to France’s Foreign Ministry. Sciences Po professor Richard Banegas, who has worked closely with Marchal, said that the arrest occurred when Marchal, a sub-Saharan African, visited Iran to see Adelkhah. According to Banegas, Marchal and Adelkhah were in a romantic relationship. It's unclear what charges the researchers face. Banegas told The Associated Press that he and colleagues consider Marchal "an academic prisoner."

As we reported previously, on July 15, President Macron expressed concern for Fariba Adelkhah’s well-being after his government said she had been denied contact with consular staff. Marchal’s arrest, however, had not been made public until recently, as the French authorities were seeking to work discreetly for his release.

In a published statement Sciences Po emphasized that [the two researchers] “activities are strictly academic and have no links whatsoever to any intelligence service and (they) do not carry out any political activity in Iran.” Therefore, “nothing justifies the arrest of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal.”

Adelkhah and Marchal join a string of foreign and dual nationals to be detained in Iran, most sharing citizenship with Western countries and many arrested on arbitrary espionage charges. Those detained include Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish-Iranian professor of Disaster Medicine (EMDM), and Xiyue Wang, a Chinese-American researcher at Princeton University.

Iran does not recognize dual nationality.

Both Marchal and Adelkhah are said to be held in Tehran’s Evin prison.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide deplores the ongoing detention of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal and calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest and condemn these arbitrary incarcerations; to call for their immediate and unconditional release; to urge the officials of the Iranian government to end the tactic of taking of dual foreign citizen scholars and students hostage for political gains; and to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide is deeply concerned about the recent arbitrary detention of foreign and dual nationals in response to their exercise of the rights to academic freedom, free expression, and free association, conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both to which Iran is a party. The ongoing tensions in Iran have a profoundly unsettling effect on academic freedom and represent a grave threat to higher education on an international scale.

Please send appeals to the following:

President Hassan Rouhani

The Office of the President

Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection


Islamic Republic of Iran

Javad Zarif

Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Minister’s Office

Imam Khomeini Square


Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 66743149


Kishore Singh

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

David Kaye

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and

protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10


Fax: +41 22 917 9006

Federica Mogherini

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security


European Commission

Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200

1049 Brussels


Thorbjørn Jagland

Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99

Philippe Boillat

Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law

Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex


Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99


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