Press release of June 30th, 2020: Fariba’s conviction upheld on appeal

We can only express our strongest indignation following the confirmation of conviction on appeal of Fariba Adelkhah’s five-year prison sentence.

Still, this iniquitous decision comes as no surprise to us, since the so-called revolutionary judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran has demonstrated from the outset of this case that it is completely subservient to the opaque agenda of the Revolutionary Guards, this ‘inverted power’ (pouvoir à l’envers) that our colleague has been denouncing from her prison cell. Once again, the judgment repeats the indictment without considering the defence, as if the latter had not existed. This is the strictly political trial of an academic prisoner whose judicial “dossier” only contains her research work, since Fariba Adelkhah has never been politically active in or about Iran.

In the face of this travesty of justice, we continue to call for the unconditional and immediate release of our colleague, all the more firmly as the resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic in Iran is endangering her health, and even her life, given her weakened state of health, following the 49-day hunger strike she was on from December 2019 to February 2020.

We call on the President of the Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to continue to make every effort to secure Fariba’s release.

As academics, we are stunned by the indifference shown by Ms Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, since Fariba Adelkhah’s arrest on June 5, 2019. When questioned by the press or parliamentarians, she has so far confined herself to a few mechanical statements, referring the matter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her silence is shocking and contemptuous of our profession as researchers and teachers. It is all the more astounding since the Islamic Republic of Iran, by arbitrarily imprisoning an increasing number of foreign researchers and academics, is clearly challenging the international scientific community. It is Ms Frédérique Vidal’s duty to contribute to the elaboration of a collective reflection on the response to be given to regimes that so systematically attack fundamental academic freedoms and the very principles of international scientific cooperation.

We are also astonished at the silence of European countries, some of which have witnessed the imprisonment of their own nationals, and at the lack of cooperation in Europe on this matter.

Since the beginning of this ordeal, we have been calling for the suspension of international scientific cooperation with Iran for as long as our academic colleagues are being held unjustly, and are in a way hostages of the Revolutionary Guards, and we have been calling for a Europe-wide initiative to be taken.
 
We are today calling on Ms Vidal to take a stand and to put forth a strategy that responds to the interests and security of our profession, for which we remind her that she has political and administrative responsibility.


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