Freed French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah still unable to leave Iran

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
France Freed French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah still unable to leave Iran
MAR 24, 2023 LISTEN

Six French nationals remain imprisoned in Iran. A seventh, the Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah, is no longer behind bars, having been released from Tehran's Evin prison in February. But the Iranian authorities have refused to return her identity papers, making it impossible for her to travel.

Adelkhah was arrested in 2019 and sentenced to five years in prison for having endangered national security. She was released in February after serving three-and-a-half years.

But the authorities in Tehran have refused to return her personal documents, confiscated at the time of her arrest. In order to travel, Adelkhah is obliged to go through the slow administrative process to obtain replacement identity papers.

On Monday France celebrated the safe release of French journalist Olivier Dubois, held by islamist captors for two years in the Sahel.

Committees of support for several French nationals still either imprisoned in Iran or unable to leave that country lashed out at media claims that said Olivier Dubois was the sole remaining French hostage in captivity. 

Six 'state hostages' still held

"Let us not forget the 'state hostages' as they have been named by the French authorities, because they need our support if they are to hold on," according to supporters of Adelkhah and other Iranian prisoners.

"We are kept in ignorance as to the conditions under which they are held. We are worried about their health. The situation is especially difficult given the fact that these people are innocent and have been deprived of basic human rights.

"We call for their release and for them to be allowed to rejoin their families."

Six French hostages are in jail in Iran.
Benjamin Beière has been held for three years; Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris for 10 months; Louis Arnaud and Bernard Phelan for five months. The remaining French detainee in Iran has not been publicly identified.

On Tuesday, French Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna assured the National Assembly that the government was "fully mobilised" to secure the release of the six in detention.

The minister made no mention of Adelkhah.