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Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, imprisoned in Iran since June 2019 © screenshot France 24 (Archive)

Rudaw: French-Iranian academic temporarily released from Tehran prison, placed under house arrest

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A French-Iranian academic jailed on security charges has been temporarily released from a Tehran prison, her lawyer announced on Saturday. 

Fariba Adelkhah, an anthropologist at the prestigious Sciences-Po university in Paris, was allowed to return to her home in Tehran but is tagged with an electronic bracelet, her lawyer Saeed Deghan said.

“We have not yet been given a date for her return to prison, but we hope that this temporary release will become final,” Dehghan told AFP.

Adelkhah was detained at her Tehran residence in June 2019. Prior to her release, she was being held at the Iranian capital’s Evin prison, in a wing run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In May of this year, Adelkhah was sentenced in five years in prison for gathering and conspiring against national security. Her sentence was upheld in June.

Both French president Emmanuel Macron and French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian have condemned her detention and called for her immediate release. Tehran has said in response that it considers Adelkhah only as an Iranian national, and has warned France not to “interfere” in her case.

Protesting violations of her rights, Fariba began a hunger strike in December that lasted six weeks and damaged her kidneys.

Friends and colleagues campaigning for her release expressed worry for 56-year-old Adelkhah’s health amid the coronavirus pandemic still gripping Iran.

“Fariba Adelkhah has been weakened by the long hunger strike she undertook from December to February,” academic and friend of Adelkhah Jean-Francois Bayart told Rudaw English in August. “She’s the perfect victim if she contracts the virus.”

According to a tweet from the Fariba Adelkhah Support Committee, Adelkhah was released “under health measures and as part of a medical leave.”

“This does not change the root of the problem. Fariba remains a scientific prisoner, under the guise of a five-year prison sentence, after an unfair “trial”, on the basis of inept accusations,” another tweet from the committee read.

Iran has granted over 100,000 prisoners furlough since the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the country in February. British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, detained by Iranian authorities since April 2016 on spying charges, was released from prison in March and placed under house arrest at her parents’ home in Tehran, where she remains.

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