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Outcry as Iran Sentences French Tourist To 8 Years in Prison for Espionage

“His sentence is based on a different legal clause than the earlier one … He has been convicted of cooperation with hostile states against Iran which carries a longer sentence than his previous one,” Dehghan said.
French man sentenced to 8 years in Iran prison for spying
An undated handout photo of Benjamin Briere, a French tourist jailed in Iran on spying charges since spring 2020, who began a hunger strike, as his lawyer and his sister Blandine Briere said in a statement on Monday, released on December 27, 2021. Courtesy of Blandine Briere/Handout via REUTERS


An Iranian court on Tuesday sentenced French national Benjamin Briere to eight years in prison on spying charges, his Paris-based lawyer said, describing the trial as a politically motivated sham and his client as a “bargaining chip”.

Briere, 36, has been held in Iran since May 2020, when he was arrested after flying a helicam – a remote-controlled mini helicopter used to obtain aerial or motion images – in the desert near the Turkmenistan-Iran border. 

The ruling comes at a sensitive time as the United States and European parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal try to restore the pact that was abandoned in 2018 by then-U.S. President Donald Trump.

“It is unacceptable that Benjamin Briere remains a hostage to negotiations on the part of a regime that persists in its desire to arbitrarily detain a French citizen and use him as a bargaining chip,” lawyer Philippe Valent said in a statement.

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