French academic held in Iran accused of ‘collusion’

TEHRAN (AFP) – A French academic held in Iran for four months faces charges of collusion after being arrested alongside a Franco-Iranian colleague accused of espionage, their lawyer said in a report yesterday.

Roland Marchal, a researcher at Sciences Po in Paris, was arrested in June together with Fariba Adelkhah, an academic at the same university.

Marchal had come to Iran to visit Adelkhah and was accused of “collusion against national security”, Saeed Dehghan said, quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

But the lawyer said the reasons for the charges were still unknown to him.

“Up until this moment, the reasons for my clients’ charges, which according to Article 32 of the Constitution must be given alongside the charges, have not been mentioned,” Dehghan said.

“It seems that Mr Marchal has been arrested because of his friendship with Ms Adelkhah,” he added. The lawyer said the two cases were still at the level of prosecutors and had not yet been sent to court.

“We are still in negotiations with judicial authorities and we hope misunderstandings in this regard will be removed, as up until now no reason has been given for the levelled allegations,” said Dehghan.

The French government has condemned the arrest of Marchal, a sociologist whose research focusses on civil wars in Africa.