Iran is imprisoning French academics again for violating house arrest

French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah was re-arrested for “violating” house arrest limits, an Islamic Republic judiciary official said on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, Ms Adelkhah … has deliberately violated the limits of house arrest dozens of times,” said Kazem Gharibabadi, deputy director of the judiciary, according to Mizan Online, the agency’s news agency.

“She has insisted on doing so despite repeated warnings from judicial authorities. So now … she has been returned to prison,” he added.

The French Foreign Ministry had said on Wednesday that Adelkhah had been re-arrested and demanded her immediate release.

“The decision to re-imprison her, which we condemn, can only have negative consequences for the relationship between France and Iran and reduce trust between our two countries,” the ministry said in a statement on January 12.

“France demands the immediate release of Ms. Adelkhah,” it added.

The new move against Adelkhah, a researcher affiliated with Paris’ prestigious Sciences Po University whose internment had triggered a rift between the two countries earlier, comes as France and other Western powers negotiate with Iran to revive a nuclear deal.

Adelkhah was arrested in 2019 and sentenced to five years in prison in 2020 before being placed under house arrest.

French President Emmanuel Macron criticized Tehran at the time of Adelkhah’s first imprisonment, saying she had been arrested arbitrarily, a claim dismissed as “propaganda” by Iranian officials.

On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry reiterated France’s position that Iran’s treatment of the academic was politically motivated.

( Jowhar with AFP, REUTERS)

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