Frenchman Benjamin Briere accused of spying jailed for 8 years in Iran

Benjamin Briere has been on hunger strike for a month

Benjamin Briere has been sentenced to eight years in jail on spying charges. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A court in Iran has sentenced a French man facing spying charges to eight years in jail, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Benjamin Briere, 36, was given an additional eight-month sentence for propaganda against the regime, Philippe Valent said in a statement.

“This verdict is the result of a purely political process that is ... devoid of any basis,” he said.

Mr Valent called the proceedings, which began on Thursday, a “masquerade” and said his client “did not have a fair trial in front of impartial judges”.

Mr Briere was arrested in May 2020 while travelling in Iran.

He is one of more than a dozen western citizens held in the country.

Activists say the prisoners are innocent of any crime and are hostages of the regime, held at the behest of the powerful Revolutionary Guards to gain concessions from the West.

Citizens of all three European powers involved in the talks on the Iranian nuclear programme – Britain, France and Germany – are among the foreigners being held.

“It is not tolerable that Benjamin Briere is being held a hostage to negotiations by a regime which keeps a French citizen arbitrarily detained merely to use him as currency in an exchange,” said Mr Valent, who lives in Paris.

Mr Briere had not been granted access to the full indictment against him, his lawyer said.

He has been on hunger strike for a month and Mr Valent said his client is “more and more weakened”.

Updated: January 25, 2022, 5:07 PM