After nine and a half months in prison, Iran released French scientist Roland Marchal. French President Emmanuel Macron is „happy“ to announce the release of the sociologist, his office said today. He urged the Iranian authorities to release French-Iranian anthropologist Fariba Adelkhah.
According to Iranian information, Marchal was released in the course of a kind of prisoner exchange between Paris and Tehran. Iran had declared that it had entered into an agreement with France. France released the Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad, who would have been threatened with extradition to the United States. Tehran did not specify which French should be released in return.
„Conspiracy Against National Security“
The 64-year-old and four years younger Adelkhah were arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards at Tehran airport in June 2019. Both have been charged with „conspiracy against national security“ – an accusation that can be punished in Iran with five years in prison.
Adelkhah is also accused of „propaganda against the system“. The allegation of espionage, against which the death penalty is based, was dropped in January. The scientist is very weak from a 49-day hunger strike.
Iran released numerous prisoners prematurely on the occasion of the Persian New Year – also against the background of the coronavirus pandemic, from which the country is suffering enormously. As a sign of solidarity, France, Great Britain and Germany sent protective clothing to Iran in early March.