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Release of a Frenchman detained in Iran, three others still imprisoned

The Frenchman Louis Arnaud, who had been detained in Iran since September 2022, was arrested. released, announced Wednesday evening Emmanuel Macron, urging T&eac;h&eac;ran à release "without delay" the three other French people still detained in this country.

“Our joy is immense but it will only be complete upon the return of Cécile, Jacques and Olivier,” Sylvie Arnaud told AFP, referring to the three other French nationals still imprisoned in Iran.

“Louis Arnaud is free. He will be in France tomorrow after too long incarceration in Iran”, announced the president in a message posted on X.

“I thank our Omani friends and all those who worked for this happy outcome. This evening, I am also thinking of Cécile, Jacques and Olivier. I call on Iran to free them without delay”, he added.

“Louis Arnaud left Evin prison on Wednesday at dawn. He saw a doctor who found that he could take the plane,” a diplomatic source told AFP. “He is currently in the Sultanate of Oman,” added this source.

“It’s a happy outcome for our compatriot,” she continued.

The thirty-year-old, consultant, began a world tour in July 2022 which took him to Iran, “a country he had dreamed of visiting for a long time for the richness of its history and the welcome of its inhabitants”, his mother Sylvie Arnaud recounted a few months ago.

He was arrested in September 2022 with other Europeans accused of having participated in the demonstrations after the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurd who died after her arrest by the moral police.

His traveling companions were quickly released but Louis Arnaud remained in prison before being sentenced last November to five years in prison for propaganda and endangering the security of the Iranian state.

His conviction was deemed “unacceptable” by Paris, which had never stopped demanding his release as well as those of other French people.

“The accusations made against him, namely propaganda and undermining the security of the Iranian state, are completely unfounded”, his mother reacted at the time.

The three other French people still detained in Iranian jails are the couple Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, arrested in May 2022 as well as a Frenchman named Olivier whose name has not been made public.

– “State Hostages” –

“We will obviously continue our efforts for the three French people who remain incarcerated in Iran”, indicated the diplomatic source.

The release of Louis Arnaud is “the result of the work that the French authorities have carried out for several months with the Iranian authorities, including the contacts of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné with his counterpart before his death”. Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi and his Minister of Foreign Affairs died on May 19 in a helicopter crash.

Release of a Frenchman detained in Iran, three others still imprisoned

Last May, Paris denounced in a press release “the odious practice of the Islamic Republic of forced and public confessions, as well as the inhumane and undignified conditions of detention inflicted on our compatriots”.

The Quai d'Orsay, which describes these prisoners as state hostages, had requested their immediate and unconditional release.

Two other French people, Benjamin Brière and Bernard Phelan, who also has Irish nationality, were released a little over a year ago, in May 2023, for “humanitarian reasons”. They were then very weakened and diminished by a hunger strike.

The Islamic Republic of Iran detains around ten Western nationals and is accused by their supporters and NGOs to use it as a bargaining chip in state-to-state negotiations.

This release came as France and its Western partners decided to toughen the tone against Tehran which is also accused of destabilizing the Middle East.

France and the United States “are determined to exert the necessary pressure” on the Iran, which is leading “an all-out escalation strategy”, declared Emmanuel Macron on Saturday alongside his American counterpart Joe Biden.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116