Latest International News

Who are the six French detainees in Iran?


Arrested in October, the Franco-Irish Bernard Phélan would be in very poor health, according to his sister. Six other French people are detained in Iranian prisons.

The vital prognosis of Bernard Phelan, a Franco-Irish detained since October in an Iranian prison, is engaged, his sister Caroline Massé-Phelan said in a press release on Tuesday, asking “his immediate release on humanitarian grounds“.

He is not the only Frenchman or Franco-Iranian binational to be held prisoner in Iran. They are officially still six, including Bernard Phelin, Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, Benjamin Brière and Louis Arnaud. Another Frenchman is detained but his identity has never been made public.

In February, Franco-Iranian researcher Fariba Adelkhah was released. Arrested in Iran in June 2019, the scientist was sentenced to five years in prison for undermining national security. This release came a few days after the announcement by the Iranian government of a pardon in favor of a “significant numberof convicts.

The regime also released a 24-year-old Spanish girl, arrested in November. He also recently announced that he was considering an exchange of prisoners to let Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele go. Three Iranian-Americans, also long-term detainees, recently appealed to Joe Biden to finalize negotiations for their release. According to our information, Tehran is demanding that the United States release part of the seven billion dollars frozen in South Korea.

On this issue of hostages, Iran seems to be more accommodating, especially since according to certain sources, the regime, cornered economically but having managed to stifle internal protest, is now considering resuming negotiations on the nuclear dispute which opposed to the international community.

Bernard Phélin, arrested in October

As part of his duties as a tourist agent, Bernard Phelan, 64, was arrested in October while on the road and found guilty of “provide information to an enemy country“, an accusation he denies. He is being held in a cell in Mashhad, in the northeast of the country. So far, repeated requests from the French Foreign Ministry to release him have gone unheeded.

Bernard Phelan had started a hunger and thirst strike in early January, before suspending it at the request of his family worried about a fatal outcome in the face of inflexible Iranian authorities. Today, his vital prognosis would be engaged according to his sister.

Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, the teacher arrested in May

Head of a French teachers’ union, Cécile Kohler, 38, was arrested with her companion Jacques Paris in May 2022 while they were sightseeing in Iran. They are accused of espionage. In early October, Iranian state television aired what it described as “confessionof spying on the two Frenchmen. Paris had denounced a “unworthy staging» and evoked for the first time «state hostages“.

Cécile Kohler’s family spoke to her for the second time since her arrest last May, during a phone call in early March, her support committee said. No information has filtered so far as to the progress of his file. Her brother explained in February that the teacher had first spent three months in solitary confinement before being placed in a cell with six fellow prisoners.

Benjamin Brière, acquitted but still in prison

Frenchman Benjamin Brière, detained in Iran since May 2020 and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for espionage, was acquitted of all charges on appeal on February 15 but is still imprisoned, to the dismay of his relatives who denounce “a ludicrous situation“.

This 38-year-old man was arrested in May 2020 for taking “photographs of prohibited areaswith a recreational drone in a natural park, and sentenced to eight years in prison for “spying“. He always introduced himself as a tourist.

The banking consultant Louis Arnaud

A 35-year-old consultant in the banking sector, Louis Arnaud was arrested on September 28 while visiting the country. Described as “a great travelerhe is incarcerated in Evin prison in conditions of detentionextremely rough“, according to his parents.

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More