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French academic held in Iran ends hunger strike, says lawyer

Protesters in Paris campaign for the release of Fariba Adelkhah and roland archal [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 February, 2020

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Fariba Adelkhah has ended a six-week hunger strike, that has left her with serious health issues, at the request of fellow activists.
French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, jailed in Iran since June, ended a six-week hunger strike on Wednesday, according to her lawyer.

"Adelkhah responded to a written request from civil and political activists and ended her hunger strike at midday (0830 GMT) today," said Said Dehghan, Adelkhah's lawyer.

Dehghan expressed relief that Adelkhah had ended the hunger strike that she began on December 24, but said she remained fragile.

"Her mental and physical condition is not good, she has been weakened," he said. "Her voice was difficult to hear and she has difficulty walking."

Adelkhah, a specialist in Shia Islam and a research director at Sciences Po University in Paris, is in Evin prison in Tehran as she awaits her trial.

Adelkhah's French colleague Roland Marchal was arrested while visiting her, according to Dehghan, who represents both academics.

Their case has raised tensions between Iran and France, which has called for them to be released as a "gesture" of goodwill.

Dehghan said on Friday the two academics were petitioning prison authorities to allow them to get married, on which a decision is expected this week.

Read more: 'Caught in a political game': British journalist reveals 7-week Iran detention

He added they had been partners for 38 years in France, and if allowed to marry they will be able to meet and see each other inside the prison for the first time.

Iran has repeatedly criticised France for what it calls its "interference" in the case.

The Islamic republic does not recognise dual nationality.

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