French Academic Fariba Adelkhah Sentenced to Six Years Imprisonment in Iran
Nearly one year after she was detained in Tehran, Iranian-born French anthropologist Fariba Adelkhah was sentenced to a total of six years in prison under “national security” charges that Iranian prosecutors have used to jail several Iranian dual nationals in recent years.
“This revolting and completely unacceptable news arouses the anger, the sadness and the indignation of all of us, but it will not lead us to give up hope,” said a statement by Olivier Duhamel, president of the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques and Frédéric Mion, President of Sciences Po.
“This latest injustice only mobilizes us more than ever to work still more tirelessly in securing Fariba’s liberation,” it added.
Adelkhah’s sentence was announced on May 16, 2020, by her Tehran-based lawyer Saeid (also spelled Saeed) Dehghan one month after her partner and fellow Sciences Po university colleague, Roland Marchal, was released from his detainment in Tehran and allowed to return to Paris as part of a prisoner swap deal.
Adelkhah, 61, was sentenced “to five years in jail for gathering and conspiring against Iran’s national security,” Dehghan told Reuters, adding that she was also issued a one-year jail term “for propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”
Iranian judicial officials have not commented on the sentence. Iran’s government says it does not recognize dual nationality but continues to trade dual nationals in prisoner swap deals.
“This sentencing is not based on any serious element or established fact, and therefore has a political nature,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
“We are urging Iranian authorities to immediately release Ms. Adelkhah,” he added.
Adelkhah, who was detained in June 2019, has maintained that she is innocent of the charges. In December 2019, she and fellow academic researcher, British Australian citizen Kylie Moore-Gilbert, went on hunger strike “on behalf of all academics and researchers across Iran and the Middle East, who like us have been unjustly imprisoned on trumped-up charges and simply doing their job as researchers,” they wrote in a letter published by the Center for Human Rights in Iran.
At least 10 dual and foreign nationals are currently detained or imprisoned in Iran.
Adelkhah is a specialist in social and political anthropology of post-revolutionary Iran and has been a researcher at the Sciences Po’s Centre for International Studies (CERI) since 1993.
In April 2020, the Paris-based Fariba and Roland Support Committee released a video containing statements by fellow academics and researchers calling on Iran to free Adelkhah.