French man Benjamin Briere jailed in Iran halts hunger strike

Benjamin Briere, 36, was sentenced by an Iranian court last week to eight years in jail.

He had begun the hunger strike at Christmas to protest the conditions of his detainment and the lack of any progress in his legal proceedings after he was arrested in 2020.

“He has stopped his hunger strike, I asked him to, given how it was developing. And he knows he needs strength to continue his struggle,” his sister Blandine told AFP.

Briere, who is being held at the Vakilabad jail in the eastern city of Mashhad, was arrested in May 2020 after taking pictures in a national park with a recreational drone.

The French foreign ministry has described the verdict as “unacceptable”, saying Briere was a “tourist”.

‘LASTED FOR 35 DAYS’

Briere’s Iranian lawyer Saeid Dehghan wrote on Twitter that his hunger strike had lasted 35 days and that he had lost 13 kilos.

He is one of more than a dozen Western citizens held in Iran described as hostages by activists, who say they are innocent of any crime and detained by the powerful Revolutionary Guards to extract concessions from the West.

The verdict against Briere came as Iran and world powers are seeking to reach an agreement at talks in Vienna on reviving a 2015 deal to curb the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of sanctions.

Blandine Briere said her brother was keeping up hope after his situation – along with that of French academic Fariba Adelkhah, who is also detained in Iran — was raised by President Emmanuel Macron in telephone talks with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday.

Blandine Briere poses on January 25, 2022 in Saint-Genis-les-Ollieres, near Lyon, the day her brother Benjamin Briere was sentenced in Iran to 8 years in prison for espionage. – An Iranian court has sentenced a French national Benjamin Briere, 36, to eight years in prison on spying charges, his family and lawyer said on January 25, 2022, arguing that Tehran was using him as a “hostage” in talks with the West. Briere is the only Western detainee known to be currently held in Iran who does not also hold an Iranian passport. Photo: JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

Macron urged the “immediate release” of both French citizens, the French presidency said.

“It gives (us) hope, but we will continue to fight until he is on a plane for France,” Blandine Briere said.

© Agence France-Presse

↯↯↯Read More On The Topic On TDPel Media ↯↯↯

»Share Your Opinion On TDPel Media«