French Foreign Ministry Staffer with Dual Citizenship Awaits Appeal on Prison Sentence in Iran
Nazak Afshar, an employee of France’s Foreign Ministry who holds Iranian and French citizenship, is awaiting a ruling on her appeal against a six-year prison sentence issued by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on unspecified charges.
Afshar is a former staff member of the French Embassy’s cultural section in Tehran. She was arrested on March 12, 2016 at Imam Khomeini International Airport after arriving from Paris to visit her hospitalized mother in Iran.
Her arrest is among a long string of arrests of dual nationals who returned to Iran after the Rouhani administration encouraged and assured them of safe return, only to be arrested once on Iranian soil.
The arrest appears to be related to her involvement in the protests that swept Iran in 2009 after the widely disputed presidential election that year, events that are still refused to as the “sedition” by hardliners in Iran.
Afshar lost consciousness several times during long interrogation sessions while she was detained in the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization-controlled Ward 2-A of Evin Prison, a source close to her told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
The source added that Afshar’s health problems date back to her first arrest in 2009 “when she was treated inhumanely by the interrogators.”
“After she was released [following her first arrest] she received treatment in France,” said the source.
“Her headaches cause her to completely lose consciousness and she constantly needs to take medications,” added the source.
Afshar was released from Evin Prison on March 25, 2016 on five billion rials ($165,000 USD) bail, according to the reformist Kalame news website.
The charges against her have not been publicized and the authorities have not commented on her case.
Afshar was first arrested in 2009 and accused of “giving refuge to anarchists in the cultural section of the French Embassy” during the period of violent state suppression of the protests that year.
Afshar appeared as a defendant in a mass trial of those who had questioned the legitimacy of the election, but her indictment was never read and no ruling was issued on her case. She was released soon after and flew to Paris.