A French-Iranian academic was sentenced to five years of jail term for conspiring against national security and one year for propaganda against the state by a court in Iran, said her Tehran lawyer, Saeid Dehghan.

The convict is a 61-year-old anthropologist and researcher at Sciences Po University in Paris, Fariba Adelkhah. She was arrested in June 2019 along with her French colleague Roland Marchal, who was released in March this year as part of a prisoner swap. It should be noted that as per the reports, the French authorities released an Iranian engineer Jalal Rohollahnejad who was arrested due to accusations related to the violation of US sanction against Iran.

Apart from these people, Iran has arrested many foreigners and people with dual nationality on security charges in recent years. Some of these accused people are now on temporary release due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 308,000 people globally and infected more than 4.5 million of the world population. But Tehran has rejected France's demands for her release.

French-Iranian academic under police custody

Fariba Adelkhah
French-Iranian scholar Fariba Adelkhah Wikimedia commons

It should be noted that according to the reports, as of now there was no confirmation of Adelkhah's sentence from the Iranian judiciary or the French foreign ministry. But French officials stated that her detention is unacceptable and that they are determined to secure her release.

As per Science Po, on December 24, 2019, she started a hunger strike at Tehran's Evin prison along with the Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert. But Adelkhah had to end the hunger strike on February 12 this year, after fears were expressed about her health. She was also taken to the prison hospital as she developed severe kidney damage.

Fariba Adelkhah, a researcher at the CERI Sciences Po is a specialist in social anthropology and the political anthropology of post-revolutionary Iran. She has written several books, including the Revolution under the Veil: Islamic Women of Iran.

When she was arrested, Adelkhah was examining the movement of Shia clerics between Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, and had spent time in the holy city of Qom. It should be noted that after she was detained at Evin Prison #FreeFarbia started trending on social media.

The academic is now able to receive visits from her family and her lawyer, but the authorities do not recognize her dual nationality, so she has not been able to benefit from any French consular assistance, Sciences Po said. It also added, "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."

"A series of events were organized at Sciences Po to raise awareness on the incarceration of the two researchers. A Support Committee was created and a petition was written demanding their immediate release."