Iran Tuesday released Iranian-French academic Fariba Adelkhah on furlough for five days, Adelkhah’s supporters announced. The Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal Support Committee stated the furlough provides only “temporary relief from [Adelkhah’s] suffering” but may be renewable. Adelkhah will remain under judicial supervision during her temporary release.
Adelkhah is a researcher at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and primarily studies Shia clerics in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Adelkhah and fellow academic Roland Marchal were arrested in Iran on June 5, 2019, and detained in Tehran. In March 2020, Iran released Marchal. Two months later, Abelkhah was sentenced to five years in prison for alleged “collusion to undermine national security” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s political system.” According to Sciences Po, Abelkhah rejected a deal for conditional release that would have required her to stop her research.
Adelkhah is not the only dual national imprisoned by Iran. According to Human Rights Watch, Iranian officials have a pattern of detaining “Iranian dual citizens and foreign nationals whom they perceive to have links with Western academic, economic, and cultural institutions” for extended periods of time. The United Nations has also expressed concern over Iran’s treatment of academics. In May, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for the release of Swedish-Iranian doctor and academic Ahmedreza Djalali. Djalali faces execution in Iran for espionage charges; UN officials believe Djalali confessed to the charges while being tortured.