Fariba Adelkhah, the Iranian-French academic who has been in prison since June 2019, is in need of urgent medical care following a 51-day hunger strike. 

The dual national ended her strike in mid-February, but is suffering from kidney damage and other physical problems as a result of her protest. 

Adelkhah, a researcher and anthropologist at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, was visiting Iran to complete a scholarship project when she was arrested. She was initially arrested on charges of "espionage" but then later charged with "colluding to commit a crime" and "propaganda against the regime," charges for which she was later acquitted. 

Roland Marchal, Fariba Adelkhah's partner and a member of the research center at Paris Institute of Political Studies, and who had traveled to Iran to visit her, was also arrested on charges of "acting against national security." He remains in temporary custody.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, her lawyer Saeed Dehghan said Adelkhah began her long-term strike after authorities prevented Marshall from visiting his client in prison. Deghan said they were barred from meeting because they had no documentation to prove they were married. 

Prior to this, some reports, including one in the newspaper Le Figaro, had suggested the possible reason for Adelkhah’s arrest was so that the Islamic Republic could use her as part of a prisoner exchange with an Iranian prisoner in France named Jalal Rouhollah-Nejad. The report said the French judiciary had agreed to a US request for the Iranian prisoner to be extradited to Washington. The extradition has so far not yet taken place.

Despite Fariba Adelkhah’s kidney failure and complications resulting from her long hunger strike, Iran’s Prisons' Organization has denied her treatment, leading to mounting concern over her health among her family, friends and colleagues. 

 

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