This week an Iranian court dismissed the appeal of Fariba Adelkhah, which means the French-Iranian academic will have to serve an unjust five-year jail sentence. On May 16, 2020, an Iranian court sentenced Adelkhah to prison on spurious charges, such as national security indictments and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” Dr. Adelkhah is an Anthropologist and researcher at international research university Sciences Po in France.
Dr. Adelkhah first made headlines in June of 2019, when she and her colleague at Sciences Po, Roland Marchal, were detained on a visit to Iran. While Marchal was released on March 21st, 2020 in a prisoner swap with France, Adelkhah continues to be held in prison. Though French authorities continue calling for Adelkhah’s release, Iranian authorities have ignored their demands. Adelkhah’s arrest and sentence follows a pattern of groundless detentions against Iranian dual-nationals and foreign national academics.
News of Adelkhah’s denied appeal comes as human rights groups report the targeting of female human rights activists in Iran. Despite the fact the over 85,000 prisoners have been temporarily released by Iranian authorities due to the risk of spreading Covid-19, many prominent female rights and human rights activists continue to be imprisoned, and in danger of contracting the deadly virus as Iran is experiencing a second wave of infections. These prisoners include renown human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, as well as recognized activists, Narges Mohammadi, Atena Daemi, and Saba Kord Afshari.
It is no coincidence that prominent female activists have not only been kept in jail during the pandemic, but that they are facing new charges while in prison and longer sentences. In yet another attempt to silence their voices, Iranian authorities have gone after these women while they still remain imprisoned. Iranian authorities must acknowledge the injustices these activists have dedicated their lives to changing, and end its practice of baseless incarcerations. The courage of these women is truly inspiring, as even behind bars, they continue to resist the oppressive practices of their government and work towards a more equitable society in Iran.Back to top