Several dozen people gathered on Saturday January 28 in Paris to demand the immediate release of the French detained in Iran, and to denounce the Iranian regime's "relentless policy of hostage-taking".

Gathered behind a large banner bearing the inscription "Freedom for state hostages in Iran", the families of the detainees brandished photos of their loved ones.

"We, families and friends, are more and more likely to know the unbearable distress of having a loved one detained by the Iranian regime," said Noémie Kohler, sister of Cécile Kohler, a teacher arrested in May with her companion Jacques. Paris, under the accusation of espionage.


Officially, seven French people are detained in Iran.

They “suffer inhuman conditions of detention, solitary confinement, endless interrogations, the extortion of false confessions, mock trials,” Ms Kohler said.

"Every day more is a day too many. We demand their immediate and unconditional release," she said.

The detainees "are out of breath, they are weakened psychologically, physically, without perspective", declared for her part Blandine Brière, the sister of Benjamin Brière, arrested in May 2020 and sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for spying.

See also >> The seven French detainees in Iran are "pawns in state policies"

The supporters of researcher Fariba Adelkhah, arrested in June 2019 and then sentenced to five years in prison for undermining national security, and Louis Arnaud, arrested on September 28, were also present.

The other detainees are a 64-year-old Franco-Irish Bernard Phelan, detained since the beginning of October and whose state of health worries his family and the French authorities, as well as another person whose identity has not been revealed. 

Pressure way

Dozens of Westerners are detained in Iran, described by their supporters as innocent people used by the Revolutionary Guards as leverage and bargaining chip.

Tehran and major Western powers are trying in vain to resuscitate a 2015 international Iranian nuclear deal.

In addition, the West has taken a whole series of sanctions against officials involved in the suppression of the popular protest movement underway in Iran since the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurd arrested by the morality police.

Tehran was also sanctioned for supplying drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

Countries, like France, no longer hesitate to accuse Tehran of practicing a policy of "state hostages".

At the end of December, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs had assured that the mobilization of the authorities to free the seven nationals remained "total".

With AFP

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