Saturday February 24, 2024

‘Frenchman held in Iran starts new hunger strike’

February 07, 2023

PARIS: Benjamin Briere, a French national held in Iran, has gone on hunger strike for the second time since his incarceration in May 2020, his sister and his lawyer said on Monday.

Briere, who was sentenced to eight years in jail for espionage, is one of seven French and more than two dozen foreign nationals who campaigners say Iran has jailed in a strategy of hostage-taking to extract concessions from the West.

Held in the prison of Vakilabad in the eastern city of Mashhad, he had already gone on hunger strike once before, at the end of December 2021. “It´s the only weapon he has,” his sister Blandine Briere said in a statement.

He stopped eating on January 28, she said. Philippe Valent, Briere´s France-based lawyer, called the espionage charges against him “fiction” and his trial “a parody staged by the Revolutionary Guards”, the branch of the Iranian security forces entrusted with the preservation of the regime.