PARIS — Iranian authorities have sent back to prison French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, who had for over a year been serving a sentence under house arrest, her Paris-based support group said on Wednesday.
Adelkhah was sentenced on May 2020 to five years in prison for conspiring against national security, accusations her supporters have always denounced as absurd.
“It is with great shock and indignation that we have been informed that Fariba Adelkhah… has been re-imprisoned in the prison of Evin” in Tehran, the committee set up to support her said in a statement.
“The Iranian government is cynically using our colleague for external or internal purposes that remain opaque, and that have nothing to do with her activities,” it added.
The committee accused the authorities of “deliberately endangering Fariba Adelkhah’s health and even her life,” pointing to the death this month in Iranian custody of poet Baktash Abtin after he contracted COVID.
The surprise move by the Iranian authorities to move Adelkhah back to prison comes at a hugely sensitive juncture in talks involving France and other world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 deal on the Iranian nuclear program.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian complained Tuesday that the pace of the talks in Vienna is “too slow,” in marked contrast to the more upbeat tone from officials in Tehran.