Emmanuel Macron announced that the Iranian regime has released two French citizens it was holding captive

Benjamin Brière and Bernard Phelan

Two French citizens, imprisoned in Iranian prisons, were released this Friday and are heading to Paris on a plane chartered by the French authorities, who continue to demand the release of four other Gauls detained in that country.

The released are Benjamin Briere, arrested in May 2020; and Bernard Phelanarrested in October 2022, in the middle of a repressive wave by the Iranian authorities after the death of Mahsa Amini.

The French President, Emmanuel Macrondescribed as “relief“the release of these two citizens, he thanked the work of those who have made it possible and indicated that he will continue working”for the return of compatriots still detained in Iran”.

The French Foreign Ministry assured that Brière and Phelan are on their way to Francewithout giving further details of his release.

Brière, 37, had been arrested for espionage in May 2020 in north-eastern Iran, near the Turkmenistan border, where he said he was sightseeing.

French President Emmanuel Macron described the release of these two citizens as a
French President Emmanuel Macron described the release of these two citizens as a “relief” (REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier) (SARAH MEYSSONNIER/)

Sentenced in the first instance to eight months in prison at the beginning of the year, he spent a month on a hunger strike for that sentence, before he was acquitted on appeal.

Phlean was arrested on October 3, 2022 in the midst of a wave of repression for the death of Amini, when according to his testimony he worked for a tour operator. He was never tried in Iran.

Total, about 40 western citizens are arrested in Irana country that various organizations accuse of carrying out a “hostage diplomacy”, consisting of obtaining concessions from the countries involved in exchange for releasing their compatriots.

Among those arrested are two French trade unionists, Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, arrested in May 2022, the consultant Louis Arnaud, in September 2022, and a fourth citizen for whom no data has been provided.

(With information from EFE)

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