Iran sentences French academic to six years in prison: Lawyer

Fariba Adelkhah is sentenced to five years in jail for conspiring against Iran’s security and one year for propaganda.

Adelkhah Fariba
Adelkhah, a 60-year-old anthropologist, has been held since June 2019 [File: Thomas Arrive/Sciences Po/AFP]

Iran has sentenced French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah to six years in prison on national security charges, according to her lawyer.

Saeid Dehghan told Reuters News Agency on Saturday he would appeal against the verdict.

“The branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court has sentenced her to five years jail for gathering and conspiring against Iran’s national security. She was also sentenced to one year jail term for propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” he said.

Iran dropped spying charges against Adelkhah, but she remained in jail on other security-related charges, Dehghan had said in March.

Later on Saturday, France condemned the sentencing of Adelkhah in Iran and demanded her immediate release.

“This sentencing is not based on any serious element or fact and is thus a political decision,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement. “We are urging Iranian authorities to immediately release Mrs Adelkhah.”

No interference

Iran had previously rejected France’s call to release Adelkhah, a 60-year-old anthropologist who has been held since June 2019, saying the demand is considered interference in its internal affairs.

Tehran does not recognise dual nationality.

In March, Iran released Adelkhah’s partner, French academic Roland Marchal, who was arrested along with her.

Marchal was released after France freed Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad, held over alleged violations of United States sanctions against Tehran.

A French court in May 2019 approved the extradition of Ruhollahnejad to the US to face charges of attempting to illegally import US technology for military purposes on behalf of an Iranian company which US officials said was linked to Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG).

Source: Reuters