Iran will put a French citizen that it detained final 12 months on trial on costs together with espionage, his lawyer mentioned on Sunday, a criminal offense that may carry the demise penalty.
The French citizen, Benjamin Brière, who’s in his mid-30s, was arrested in Iran in Could 2020 on suspicion of flying a drone and taking images in a prohibited space. Saeid Dehghan, a human rights lawyer who represents him, mentioned on Twitter on Sunday that Iranian prosecutors had confirmed his shopper can be tried on two counts of espionage and “propaganda in opposition to the system.”
“The prosecutor is making ready the indictment and sending it to the revolutionary courtroom,” Mr. Dehghan advised the French information company Agence France-Presse.
Within the years since President Donald J. Trump withdrew the US from a nuclear deal with the nation and reimposed sanctions, Iran has detained a number of foreigners and twin residents.
Iran regularly makes use of such instances as diplomatic bargaining chips or to press for the discharge of Iranian prisoners overseas. In March final 12 months, the French authorities secured the discharge of an educational who had been held on nationwide safety costs, Roland Marchal, as a part of a prisoner swap.
Mr. Brière’s lawyer mentioned in March that his shopper was going through a propaganda cost as a result of he requested in a social media publish why head scarves had been required for ladies in Iran however non-obligatory in another predominantly Muslim international locations.
A conviction for propaganda can carry a jail time period of three months to at least one 12 months. Espionage could be punishable by demise in Iran; Mr. Dehghan, the lawyer, advised the BBC in March that Mr. Brière was liable to an extended jail sentence if convicted.
His sister, Blandine Brière, described the costs in opposition to her brother as groundless and mentioned he was only a French vacationer in Iran.
To mark the anniversary of Mr. Brière’s detention on Could 26, the French weekly Le Level printed an open letter from Ms. Brière to President Emmanuel Macron of France, making a determined attraction for his assist.
“Mr. President, it’s after an extended 12 months of ready, of worrying and of incomprehension that I write to you, to name on you to assist free Benjamin who’s at this time minimize off from his personal life, from those that love him, and from the remainder of the world,” Ms. Brière wrote on Fb, echoing the letter.
“One 12 months that Benjamin, and we, his family members, have gone by means of hell,” Ms. Brière mentioned, describing the Iranian authorities as intentionally obfuscating the case. “We’re powerless, going through a situation as unreal as it’s incomprehensible,” she added.
The French international ministry mentioned in March that Mr. Brière, who’s being held within the Vakilabad jail within the metropolis of Mashhad in northeastern Iran, was entitled to consular safety and that its embassy in Tehran was in “common contact” with him.