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France-Iran: The Facts About Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal: What We Know Information and FAQ

Saturday 21 March 2020, by siawi3


The Facts About Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal: What We Know
Information and FAQ

Fariba Adelkhah: Bio

Roland Marchal: Bio

Update on 21 March, 2020: Roland Marchal has been released

Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, both researchers at Sciences Po, were arrested in Iran in early June 2019. On 21 March, 2020, it was announced that Roland Marchal had been released. Fariba Adelkhah remains in incarceration.

Fariba Adelkhah, after carrying out a hunger strike between the end of December 2019 and mid-February 2020, was admitted on February 23 to the Evin prison hospital where she is imprisoned in Tehran, due to “a serious deterioration of her health”.

Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal’s trial, which was due to start on March 3, 2020 before the 15th chamber of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, has been postponed sine die, for an unknown reason. The charges against Fariba Adelkah are: “propaganda against the political system of the Islamic Republic” and “collusion to endanger national security”. Only this last count is brought against Roland Marchal. An assembly took place on March 3, 2020 in front of 27, rue Saint-Guillaume, in support of the imprisoned researchers.

Assembly for Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal - 3 March 2020 from Sciences Po on Vimeo.

Where are they being held and in what conditions?

Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal are being detained at Evin Prison, situated in the north of Tehran.

The charge of espionage against Fariba Adelkhah, punishable by death penalty, was dropped on January 6, 2020. She remains accused of “propaganda against the political system of the Islamic Republic” and “collusion to endanger national security”. She is now able to receive visits from her family and her lawyer, but the authorities do not recognise her dual nationality, so she has not been able to benefit from any French consular assistance, unlike Roland Marchal.

On December 24, 2019, Fariba Adelkhah began a hunger strike, together with Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, also imprisoned for fifteen months in Iran. Fariba Adelkhah ended her hunger strike on February 12, 2020. Worried about her alarming state of health, the Support Committee for the two researchers wrote to her asking her to end it. She was admitted on Sunday, February 23, to Evin Prison Hospital where she is incarcerated in Tehran. Fariba Adelkhah suffered from severe kidney damage following her 49 day hunger strike, and received no medical care or examination that could lead to an accurate diagnosis.

At what was meant to be the first day of the trial (March 3, 2020), only Fariba Adelkhah was present; Roland Marchal was apparently absent. The trial was postponed until an unknown date.

In mid-March, Roland was able to exchange with the French ambassador to Iran via WhatsApp, with a short portion on video. The French ambassador reported that Roland’s health seemed stable, though he appears physically weakened. Roland was able to receive news on his relatives and friends, and learn about the events and actions that have taken place in solidarity for him and Fariba Adelkhah in Paris, Strasbourg, Metz and elsewhere.

Fariba Adelkhah, was able to see one of her sisters through a glass window. Though she is doing better physically, she continues to be appalled by the way she and her fellow prisoners are treated in prison. Fariba, who had decided to do a sit-in (bast), has now returned to her cell where she can benefit from the support of her fellow academic inmates.

Fariba and Roland have not been able to have any contact with each other.

The Support Committee remains very worried about their health, especially in light of the serious coronavirus pandemic that is greatly affecting Iran.

What steps have been taken by Sciences Po and the French authorities since their detainment?

Upon receiving news of the arrests of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, our institution immediately implemented a series of actions in close collaboration with the Crisis and Support Centre of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and the CNRS.

With the help of the MEAE, we have ensured that both receive the assistance of a highly experienced Iranian lawyer. Approved by the Iranian judicial authorities, this lawyer therefore assures the two of them a defence that is both watertight and officially authorised.

Working within the context of Iran’s particularly complex political climate, Sciences Po and the French authorities are putting every possible action in place to liberate Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal.

> Visit the Support Committee website

> Back on the event “Captives Without Cause”

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