French vacationer jailed in Iran goes on starvation strike


PARIS, Dec 27 – Benjamin Briere, a French vacationer jailed in Iran on spying expenses since spring 2020, has begun a starvation strike, his lawyer and sister stated in a press release on Monday.

French authorities stay in shut contact with Briere, visiting him on Dec. 21 and contacting him on Monday, a French overseas ministry spokesperson stated.

Briere has been held since Might 2020, when he was arrested after flying a helicam – a remote-controlled mini helicopter used to acquire aerial or movement pictures – within the desert close to the Turkmenistan-Iran border. He was charged with espionage and propaganda in opposition to the Islamic Republic.

“The feeling of abandonment – and distress – has led Benjamin Briere to embark on a hunger strike in order to alert Iranian and French authorities to the absurdity of his detention,” his sister Blandine Briere and lawyer Philippe Valent stated in an emailed assertion.

An undated handout photo of Briere, who was arrested on spying charges after flying a helicam.
An undated handout picture of Briere, who was arrested on spying expenses after flying a helicam.

His Iranian lawyer Saeid Dehghan confirmed Briere was on a starvation strike “for being denied contact with his family on this occasion (Christmas)”.

“Apparently, it does not matter that a foreign tourist is spending his second (Christmas) in Iranian prisons,” Dehghan stated on Twitter. “What is Mashhad’s Revolutionary Court waiting for before investigating the political charges of (Benjamin Briere) who has been detained for 570 days?!”

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of twin nationals and foreigners lately, totally on espionage expenses.

Rights activists have accused Iran of arresting twin residents and foreigners to attempt to win concessions from different international locations. Tehran denies holding individuals for political causes.

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