France summons Iran's ambassador over detained researchers

December 27, 2019 - 10:22 am

France's government has summoned Iran's ambassador to demand the release of two French researchers held in a notorious Tehran prison, and to express “extreme concern” about the health of one who is on a hunger strike.

France considers the months-long detention of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal “unacceptable” and is seeking permission for consular officials to visit them, according to a foreign ministry statement.

The ministry said the ambassador was summoned Thursday, and that France is demanding “total transparency” about what is happening with the researchers.

Iranian officials disclosed in July that Adelkhah, a prominent anthropologist who often traveled to Iran for research on post-revolutionary Iranian society, had been arrested on espionage charges. Her friend and fellow researcher Marchal was arrested as he tried to visit her.

Adelkhah, who is French-Iranian, has gone on a hunger strike along with an academic and co-prisoner from Australia, Kylie Moore-Gilbert. The U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran this week said the women stopped eating on behalf of researchers like themselves who are unjustly imprisoned.

Moore-Gilbert, a University of Melbourne scholar on the Middle East, has been jailed since October 2018.

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