Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, both researchers at Sciences Po’s Center for International Studies (CERI), were arrested in Iran on June 5, 2019. They were first detained in the wing of Evin prison (Tehran) overseen by the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Roland Marchal was released on March 20, 2020 and is back among us. Fariba went on hunger strike for 49 days (from December 24, 2019 to February 12, 2020). On 16 May 2020, Fariba Adelkhah was sentenced to six years in prison by the 15th Chamber of the Tehran Court on trumped-up charges and without any proper trial. She was under house arrest with an electronic bracelet from october 3, 2020 until she was brutally re-imprisoned on January 12, 2022.
Fariba was definitely freed from Evin on February 10, 2023 after 1346 days of unjust detention. Fariba Adelkhah has recovered some of her freedom. However, we do not yet know if her release from prison is synonymous with the restitution of all her rights and, more specifically, if she can resume her research and leave Iran.
Our joy is also tempered by the sadness of the families whose loved ones, detained in equally arbitrary conditions, have not been released. Among them, six French state hostages and several dozen European citizens. And many prisoners of Iranian nationality remain unfairly detained.
We warmly thank all those – colleagues, relatives, journalists, diplomats, elected officials – who have accompanied Fariba during her detention and count on the renewal of their support for as long as she has not recovered her full and basic rights. We express our solidarity with those who unjustly remain in prison, whether they are Iranian or not.
Detained in Evin since June 5th, 2019
The Support Committee
Our international support committee was officialised in October 2019. Its aim is to mobilize the academic community for the release of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, and to defend the independence and freedom of research in regions of the world where it is increasingly threatened and politically exploited.
Why this blog ?
The aim of this academic blog is to engage with the ideas of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal which are still “at large” . It intends to maintain their presence in the academic public space pending their release, not for hagiographic purposes, which would be ill-suited to their modesty, but to continue to draw inspiration from their scientific contribution and their fieldwork practices.
Based on extensive investigations in Iran and Afghanistan on the one hand, in Somalia, Sudan, the Central African Republic or Chad on the other, their respective approaches have in common to think backward of mainstream analysis frameworks in order to propose a fresh understanding of local societies and global issues. Each in their own way, they took part in important theoretical and methodological debates on major issues – violence, war, military interventions, political economy, land, religion, practices of faith, political Islam.
This blog wants to continue to build on our two colleagues’ seminal research, either by discussing topics they have explored as entry points or by using their writings to inform other themes. As an interface of the numerous institutional or associative initiatives in support of Fariba and Roland, this blog will echo the events, actions and publications carried out on their behalf, in the hope that these reflections will resonate throughout the academic community and that this mobilization will help to liberate them.
On behalf of its entire community, Sciences Po welcomes the launch of this blog and shares the hopes underlying this initiative.