Health fears over French academic held in Iran

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Updated 23 January 2020

Health fears over French academic held in Iran

  • Adelkhah would be willing to end her hunger strike if Marchal was freed
  • Iran does not recognize dual nationality and has lashed out at Paris for what it has described as ‘interference’

PARIS: French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah has requested access to her French colleague Roland Marchal in detention in Iran, saying she has “serious concerns” about his health, a committee supporting the pair said Thursday.
The two researchers have been held in the Islamic Republic since June, two of a number of foreigners arrested in Iran during a spike in tensions between Tehran and the West.
Adelkhah would be willing to end her hunger strike, which she started on Dec. 24, if Marchal was freed, the support committee said in a press release sent to AFP.
“She has the most serious concerns about his health — an alarm that we share,” because the Revolutionary Guards have refused a consular visit to Marchal since December, the committee said.
French nationals held abroad can usually receive consular visits, during which detention conditions — and their health — can be checked.
But Iran does not recognize dual nationality and has lashed out at Paris for what it has described as “interference” in the cases of the academics, both from Sciences Po university in Paris.
Adelkhah has refused to return to her cell and held a sit-in in a public area of the prison over the last week, demanding to see Marchal “to comfort him and check the state of his health,” the committee said.
Iran has dropped espionage charges against Adelkhah but she still faces charges of spreading “propaganda against the political system” and “conspiracy against national security.”
Marchal is accused of “collusion against national security,” according to his lawyer.
The two researchers are not the only foreign academics behind bars in Iran — Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert of the University of Melbourne is serving a 10-year sentence on espionage charges. Moore-Gilbert is sharing a cell with Adelkhah and joined her on the hunger strike.
Arrests of foreigners including dual nationals in Iran have increased since the United States pulled out a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions.
France and other European nations have tried to salvage the deal, but tensions soared further after the US killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani earlier this month.
France has regularly called on Iran to release Adelkhah and Marchal, with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian saying earlier this month that their detention was “unacceptable.”

Mubarak to be buried in ‘small’ military funeral

Updated 13 min 51 sec ago

Mubarak to be buried in ‘small’ military funeral

  • The event will be low key because of Mubarak's conviction for embezzling state funds, source tells Arab News
  • Unclear whether President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will attend

CAIRO: Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will be buried in a small military funeral, a source told Arab News.

The event will be low key because of his conviction, along with his two sons, on corruption charges, the source said.

Normally, a military funeral would not be held for anyone with a criminal record.

The source was unable to confirm whether President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, would attend the funeral or if any other Arab leaders would be there. It was also unclear when it would take place.

Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for three decades before he was toppled during the Arab Spring, died on Tuesday at the age of 91.

He had been in intensive care in a military hospital in Cairo for more than a month, after undergoing abdominal surgery.

Mubarak was cleared on appeal in 2014 of charges that he failed to prevent the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising against his rule. But the legal proceedings linked to the uprising would drag on for three more years.

In 2015, he was sentenced to three years in prison over the embezzlement of state money allocated for presidential palaces. His sons Alaa and Gamal were also jailed for their roles in the scandal.

On Saturday, a Cairo court acquitted the two brothers, along with seven others, of stock market manipulation in 2007 during the sale of a bank.

Mubarak became the fourth president of Egypt in October 1981, taking over after Anwar Sadat was assassinated by extremists.

He stood down on Feb. 11, 2011 after 18 days of mass protests and handed power to Egypt’s military.

Born in the village of Menufiyah in the Nile Delta, Mubarak graduated from the air force academy in 1950, and became air force chief of staff in 1972.

In 1975, Sadat chose him as vice president, and after Sadat’s death, Mubarak assumed the presidency after a confirmation referendum. He renewed his term through similar referendums in the years 1987, 1993 and 1999.

He won a presidential election held in 2005 - the first held during his rule.

After his downfall, he was put on trial over the deaths of protesters and sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2012.

He finally walked free in 2017, when Egypt’s highest appeals court cleared him of conspiring to kill protesters. Most of his time in detention was spent at a military hospital.