Paris: families of French hostages in Iran demonstrate for their release

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Their conditions of detention worry more and more. Several dozen people gathered this Saturday at the Trocadéro in Paris to demand the immediate release of the French detained in Iran, and to denounce “the relentless policy of taking hostages” of the Iranian regime.

Gathered behind a large banner bearing the inscription “Freedom for hostages in Iran”, the families of the detainees brandished photos of their loved ones. Officially, seven French people are now detained in Iran.

In all, several dozen Westerners are imprisoned in Iran, described by their supporters as innocent people used by the Revolutionary Guards as a means of pressure and bargaining chip. Countries like France no longer hesitate to accuse Tehran of practicing a policy of “state hostages”.

“We, families and friends, are more and more numerous to know the unbearable distress of having a loved one detained by the Iranian regime”, recalled Noémie Kohler, sister of Cécile Kohler, a teacher arrested in May with her companion Jacques. Paris, under the accusation of espionage.

Captives “undergo inhumane detention conditions, solitary confinement, endless interrogations, the extortion of false confessions, mock trials,” she said. “Every day more is a day too many. We demand their immediate and unconditional release,” she continued.

” Breathless “

The detainees “are out of breath, they are weakened psychologically, physically, without perspective”, declared for her part Blandine Brière, the sister of Benjamin Brière, arrested in May 2020 and sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for spying.

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The supporters of researcher Fariba Adelkhah, arrested in June 2019 and then sentenced to five years in prison for undermining national security, and Louis Arnaud, arrested on September 28, were also present.

The other detainees are a 64-year-old Franco-Irish, Bernard Phelan, detained since the beginning of October and whose state of health worries his family and the French authorities, as well as another person whose identity has not been revealed. .

At the end of December, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs had assured that the mobilization of the authorities to free the seven nationals remained “total”.

Relations are fresh between Tehran and Paris, which like other Western capitals, has criticized officials involved in the crackdown on the ongoing popular protest movement in Iran since the September death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurd arrested by police. mores.

Tehran has also been sanctioned by the West for supplying drones to Russia in its war with Ukraine.

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