Fears of seeing the situation worsen for Cécile Kohler and her companion Jacques Paris, detained since 2022 in Iran, are confirmed. The Iranian judiciary indicated on Tuesday (September 12th) that the investigation carried out on these two Frenchmen paved the way for a possible trial for "espionage".
"A man and a woman, both French citizens, have been arrested for spying against Iran," Justice Ministry spokesman Massoud Satayshi told a news conference.
"Their case was referred to the competent court after a thorough investigation. An indictment has been pronounced," he added, without giving details. "Their lawyers have reviewed their case twice and, when new information becomes available, we will share it," the spokesman continued.
Cécile Kohler, a French teacher and trade unionist, and Jacques Paris, a pensioner, were arrested on 7 May 2022 while travelling in Iran. Their relatives have repeatedly held rallies in France to demand their release and denounce their "extremely difficult" conditions of detention in Tehran's Evin prison.
Two other Frenchmen detained in Iran
In addition to Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, two other Frenchmen are still detained in Iran, the consultant Louis Arnaud, arrested on September 28, 2022 in Tehran, and another whose identity has never been made public.
"Nothing justifies the detention" of "French nationals in prisons and in inadmissible conditions in Iran," President Emmanuel Macron said in a speech on August 28.
Several Western states denounce what they call "hostage diplomacy" on the part of Iran, which consists of arresting Western nationals in order to obtain concessions such as the release of its own nationals.
See alsoBelgium swaps Olivier Vandecasteele for Iran's Assadollah Assadi
Iran confirms detention of Swedish national
Tehran has also just confirmed, Tuesday, the arrest of a Swede, diplomat for the European Union, saying that he had "committed crimes" during his tourist stay in the country, according to justice spokesman Massoud Satayshi, quoted by the Mizan Online agency. However, the authorities did not specify what "crimes" the young man allegedly committed.
This is the first Iranian reaction to the announcement made in early September by Sweden and the European Union of the arrest of Johan Floderus, 33, on April 17, 2022 at Tehran airport.
Johan Floderus, who has been working in Brussels for the EU Delegation to Afghanistan since September 2021, is also being held in Tehran's Evin prison.
In July 2022, Iran announced the arrest of a Swede on espionage charges, amid tense relations between Tehran and Stockholm following the trial in Sweden of an Iranian man sentenced to life for his role in mass executions of thousands of opponents by the Iranian regime in 1988.
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