Iran sentences French academic to six years in prison

An Iranian court has handed down a six-year prison sentence to a French-Iranian academic.

“Fariba Adelkhah was sentenced to six-year imprisonment; five years for the conspiracy against the national security and one year for propaganda [against the state],” her Iranian lawyer Saeid Dehghan told Financial Times on Saturday.

Mr Dehghan said he and his two colleagues were set to appeal against the verdict by the preliminary court within “maximum next 48 hours”.

The French minister for foreign affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said the conviction was “not based on any serious element or established fact” and was of “a political nature.” He urged the Iranian authorities to immediately release Ms Adelkhah.

Ms Adelkhah, a researcher at Sciences Po in Paris who has been in prison in Iran for 11 months, last appeared in court in April.

The 61-year-old anthropologist was detained in Iran along with her French colleague Roland Marchal in June 2019. Mr Marchal was released in March as part of prisoner exchange for an Iranian engineer Jalal Rohollahnejad, who had allegedly violated US sanctions against Iran.

Iran does not recognise dual nationality for Iranian citizens.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian citizen who has been detained since 2016, was been released temporarily from jail in March as the country struggled to contain coronavirus.

The 42-year-old employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, who was convicted for five years on charges of espionage, must wear an ankle tag and stay within 300 metres of her parents’ home.

Iran has sent more than 100,000 prisoners on temporary release due to the risk of the respiratory illness.

The number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran approached 7,000 on Saturday out of 118,392 individuals who have so far tested positive.

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