According to the lawyer representing Iranian-born Adelkhah, who has a French passport, and Marchal, the pair were charged with “propaganda against the political system of the Islamic Republic” and “conspiring against national security”.

The support group for the two and the French foreign ministry have both sounded the alarm over their health. In December, France summoned Iran’s envoy and asked him to ensure that Iran “displays transparency” in the case. Tehran rejected France’s action as “meddlesome and unacceptable,” stressing that Iran does not recognise Adelkhah’s dual citizenship.

Hunger strike

Adelkhah, who is 60 years old, went on hunger strike for 49 days; 64-year-old Marchal’s health is said to be deteriorating. The recent coronavirus outbreak adds to the concern. Both work for the Paris-based political university SciencesPo.

Adelkhah appeared at this morning’s hearing, although Marchal was not in attendance for reasons that are currently unclear. The support group added that Adelkhah did not seem to have her lawyer present at the hearing and neither were any French diplomats in attendance.

The hearing was adjourned to a later date, according to the same source.

Not the only ones

The support group said holding them in jail was particularly dangerous given the intensity of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, which has killed 77 people nationwide according to a new toll.

Adelkhah and Marchal are not the only academics being held by Tehran.

There are several other foreigners in high-profile cases, including British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his father, Mohammad Bagher Namazi.

And Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert of the University of Melbourne is serving a 10-year sentence after being found guilty of espionage.

Even harsher sentences are being meeted out to domestic critics.

In December, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer in Iran, was sentenced to 33 years in jail and 148 lashes.

Source » rfi