Middle East
French woman home after Iran trial
Academic thanks France for securing her release after spying conviction in Iran.
Last Modified: 16 May 2010 15:08 GMT
Reiss had been accused of playing a role in a 'Western 
plot' to destabilise Iran [AFP]

A French academic who was arrested in Iran on spy charges 10 months ago has thanked the French government for its help in securing her release.

Clotilde Reiss, 24, met Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, at Elysee Palace in Paris on Sunday, shortly after returning to France following the conclusion of her trial in Tehran.

Speaking briefly to reporters after her meeting with Sarkozy, Reiss expressed her gratitude to the French leader and his government for protesting her innocence.

"I would like to thank all the people who supported me throughout this hardship, first of all the president ... who supported my innocence from the moment I was arrested, honouring me with his welcome just after my return to my country," she said.

"I would also like to thank [French Foreign] Minister Kouchner who committed himself to resolving my case from the very beginning.

"And of course I thank my family and the Iranians who showed me their support and all the strangers who showed solidarity with my case - the French and people from all over the world.

"It gave me a lot of emotions and force to overcome this trial."

Jail term commuted

Reiss also paid tribute to her fellow detainees in Iran, two of whom have been put to death.

"I would like to thank ... [Sarkozy] who supported my innocence from the moment I was arrested"

Clotilde Reiss, French academic

"They treated me like a sister," she said, paying "particular homage ... to the two men you saw on television beside me at my trial, who have been executed."

Reiss was arrested three weeks after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected as president in a disputed June 12 vote. 

She was accused of taking part in a Western plot to destabilise the Iranian government and was put on trial in August charged with acting against national security.

But her lawyer said her 10-year jail term was commuted to a fine of three billion rials, or about $300,000. He said he paid the fine on Saturday.

Reiss was released on bail after a month and a half in custody but only on the condition that she remain at the French Embassy in Tehran until her trial was over.

Rising tensions

A judgement in the case had been expected in January, after Reiss had made four court appearances, but the verdict was put off.

Her case has raised tensions between France and Iran, with Paris saying that Reiss was innocent and demanding her immediate release.

Reiss's arrest in Tehran in July came as she prepared to leave Iran after working at the University of Isfahan for five months.

She was among thousands of people detained over widespread post-election unrest, which was sparked after defeated presidential candidates said that the polls had been rigged.

The government has denied the claims.

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