Iran: French detainees Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris face possible trial for espionage

It has been nearly 500 days since French teacher and trade unionist Cécile Kohler was detained in Iran with her partner Jacques Paris. On Tuesday, September 12, the Iranian judiciary announced the end of the investigation against them, paving the way for their possible trial for espionage, but without indicating a date.

Protesters hold portraits of French detainees in Iran — Fariba Adelkhah, Cécile Kohler and Benjamin Brière — during a demonstration in support of French nationals detained by the Iranian government, on the Trocadero esplanade in Paris, January 28, 2023 (illustration image). AFP - STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

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The Iranian judiciary said Tuesday that the investigation into two Frenchmen arrested in 2022 in Iran, teacher Cécile Kohler and her companion Jacques Paris, was over, paving 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.

Very little communication with the two inmates

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.

Noémie, the sister of Cécile Kohler and spokesperson for the support committee "Freedom for Cécile" is all the more worried, as she and her family have had very little news of Cécile since her arrest, explains our correspondent in Strasbourg, Wyloën Munhoz-Boillot. Their last telephone exchange dates back to August 23.


Since March, she has been allowed to call us very randomly, every five to six weeks. These are very short calls, less than 10 minutes, of very poor quality. So it is difficult to dialogue and she is under close surveillance. So, in fact, not much is known about his actual conditions of detention. These calls consist mainly of giving us news of the family because they need it to hold on. She, she, tries to reassure us, she tells us: "I hold on, don't worry, it's okay". But we feel that she is trying to reassure us and we know, from the testimonies of other prisoners, that these are still extremely harsh conditions. So we expect the worst. »

Dozens of other foreigners also 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 unacceptable conditions in Iran," President Emmanuel Macron said in a speech on August 28.

Other European countries and human rights activists accuse Tehran of detaining dozens of foreigners in a blackmail strategy. Another Frenchman, Benjamin Brière, and a French-Irish national, Bernard Phelan, were released in May on "humanitarian grounds".

See alsoIran announces an agreement on a prisoner exchange with the United States


and with AFP)

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