A French national incarcerated in Iran for nearly three years has written to President Ebrahim Raisi to request his release, his sister says.
Benjamin Brière wrote the letter in Persian and sent it to the prison guards on March 13, Blandine Brière told AFP. She published a copy of the letter in French.
In the letter, Brière appealed to Raisi’s “dignity” and "sense of honor" in order to obtain his freedom, which he said “should have been returned to me after my acquittal a month ago, this same freedom which should never have been torn from me.”
The prisoner called on the president to "show by deeds, rather than words, the independence of the Iranian judicial system," and vowed to continue his hunger strike, which began on January 28, until he is freed.
Brière was arrested in May 2020 for taking "photographs of prohibited areas" with a drone and sentenced to eight years in prison for "espionage."
In his letter, Brière said he had been acquitted of all the charges against him and that “a release order from the Revolutionary Court of Appeal of Mashhad was signed on February 15.”
He said he has been subjected to "psychological violence" and "mental torture" in prison, for instance when he was asked to prepare his bag after his acquittal but was taken back to the cell one meter from the exit.
Paris has repeatedly called on the Islamic Republic to free Brière and five other French nationals who remain imprisoned in Iran, calling their detention unfounded.
Western governments have repeatedly accused the Islamic Republic of taking dual and foreign nationals hostage for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps or as a bargaining chip in international negotiations.
Many European countries have urged their nationals not to travel to Iran, warning that they face the risk of arbitrary arrest or unfair trial.