French-Iranian academic returned to Tehran jail after hospital stay

Fariba Adelkhah has been taken back to the same wing as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who fears she has coronavirus

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 19, 2012 and released on July 16, 2019 by Sciences Po university, Franch-Iranian academic Adelkhah Fariba is pictured at an undisclosed location. Adelkhah, jailed in Iran since last year, has been transferred to a prison hospital after her health deteriorated following a hunger strike, her lawyer said on February 25, 2020. The academic ended a six-week hunger strike on February 12 as she awaits trial on charges including conspiring against national security. Adelkhah, a specialist in Shiite Islam and a research director at Sciences Po University in Paris, was arrested in June 2019 and is being held in Evin prison in Tehran.
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A French-Iranian academic detained in Tehran has returned to her prison cell after a stay in hospital, her lawyer said on Sunday.

Said Dehghan said his client Fariba Adelkhah had been taken back to the women’s wing of Evin prison, where jailed mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is being held.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is suspected to have coronavirus, her family said on Saturday in a statement urging officials at the prison to test her for Covid-19.

The British-Iranian dual national said in the statement: "I am not good. I feel very bad in fact. It is a strange cold. Not like usual. I know the kinds of cold I normally have, how my body reacts."

Mr Dehghan said authorities had agreed to his call to ban conjugal visits to the prison to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ms Adelkhah, who has been held in Tehran since June last year, is due to go on trial on Tuesday on charges including conspiring against national security. The researcher from the Sciences Po University in Paris denies the accusations against her.

She was admitted to hospital after her health deteriorated as a result of a six-week hunger strike, which she ended in February. Her lawyer said she returned to her cell despite still complaining of kidney pain.

Relatives of inmates at Evin Prison have spoken of their concern at the threat of coronavirus in a country where the infection rate is rapidly growing.

Iran is one of the worst affected countries from the outbreak with 978 officially declared cases and 54 deaths.

Tehran-based MP Mahmoud Sadeghi, who revealed last week he had been infected by the virus, has urged political prisoners to be released from Evin prison so they can escape the epidemic.

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