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French-Iranian Researchers Detained in Tehran File Petition to Get Married

French-Iranian Researchers Detained in Tehran File Petition to Get Married

Friday, 7 February, 2020 - 08:45
A handout picture taken in 2012 in an unlocated location and released on July 16, 2019 by Sciences Po university shows Franco-Iranian academic Adelkhah Fariba, 60. AFP
Asharq Al-Awsat

Two French-Iranian researchers held for months in a Tehran prison on charges of violating Iran's state security laws have petitioned prison authorities to allow them to get married, their lawyer said Friday.

Fariba Adelkhah Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, who are in their 60s, filed separate requests to Evin prison authorities over the matter.

Their lawyer, Saeid Dehghan said he was concerned for Adelkhah's deteriorating health amid a hunger strike that she has been on since December.

Dehghan said that a decision on whether his clients will be allowed to get married is expected next week.

They have been partners for 38 years in France, he told The Associated Press (AP).

“If permitted to marry, they will be able to meet and see each other inside the prison," he said, explaining that Iranian laws prohibit extra-marital relations.

Iranian officials disclosed last July that Adelkhah, a prominent anthropologist who often traveled to Iran for research on post-revolutionary Iranian society, had been arrested on espionage charges.

Meanwhile, Adelkhah's friend and fellow researcher Marchal was arrested as he tried to visit her, France revealed in October. He is being held in a men’s ward in Evin on charges of spreading propaganda.

The initial charges against Adelkhah were later dropped but security-related charges remain against her, AP reported.

In December, Adelkhah went on hunger strike to protest her and Marchal's detention.

“She remains on hunger strike, her legs are weak and she walks with difficulties," the lawyer said, noting that “her kidneys have faced some problems.”

In December, France summoned Iranian envoy to Paris, saying it considered the months-long detention of Adelkhah and Marchal “unacceptable” and sought permission for consular officials to visit them.

However, it wasn’t made public whether that permission as granted.

Iran, which doesn't recognize dual nationality for its citizens, is holding several foreign and dual nationals, including five US-Iranian nationals.

According to AP, a prisoner exchange in December saw Tehran Iran free a Chinese-US scholar from Princeton who had been held for three years on widely criticized espionage charges.

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