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Lawyer: French man is in Iran's prison over security charges

Last Updated Feb 24, 2021 at 12:44 pm MDT

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian lawyer Wednesday said charges against his imprisoned French client “paradoxical,” confirming he has been jail for nine months.

Saeed Dehghan told the Associated Press that charges against nearly 30-year-old French man identified as Benjamin is “mix” of security and other accusations that are not matching. He declined to give further details.

Dehghan said his client is a French national on a tourist visit to Iran and denied reports over Benjamine’s dual nationality.

Dehghan also rejected reports about possession of a drone and said he only had a helicam that “many young people have in Iran, too.”

He said he met his client three times , the latest less than a month ago adding he is in good health and spirit particularly after having calls with his family. “Though he felt pressure, before that,” said Dehghan.

Authorities arrested the nearly 30-year-old French man some nine months ago in a northeastern town of the country and now he is in Vakilabad prison in northeastern city of Mashhad.

Calls to authorities were not immediately returned on Wednesday because of beginning a weekend here.

Iran has a track record of releasing detained westerners in return of releasing Iranian prisoners abroad.

In March, a prisoner exchange was carried out between Iran and France, swapping researcher Roland Marchal for Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad. Marchal was arrested when he tried to visit his fellow researcher Fariba Adelkhah in Iran, French officials revealed in 2019.

The Associated Press