French Tourist Benjamin Briere Sentenced to Eight Years In Prison

On January 25, Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad sentenced Benjamin Briere to eight years in prison. The court session had been held on January 20.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists,  French tourist Benjamin Briere who is jailed in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad City, was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of “spying” and “propaganda against the regime”. Two other charges of “spreading corruption on earth” and “drinking alcohol” were already dismissed by the court.

Briere’s lawyer, Saeed Dehghan, tweeted that “1. Just before the trial, they changed the branch where the court was going to be held, 2. the trial was not public and 3. it was quite obvious that the judge has already taken a position, 3. They mentioned the word “exchange” (apparently referring to a prisoner swap with the French government) which reveals their intention”.

Briere has been in pre-trial detention for almost 600 days.

In late December of 2021, he was denied making a phone call to his family on Christmas night and in protest, went on hunger strike.

In May 2020, Briere was arrested by security forces and has since been jailed in Vakilabad Prison.

According to Dehghan, these charges were based on actions such as taking aerial photos with a remote-controlled helicam and posing questions such as “why is the veil (Hijab) forced in Iran but not other Islamic countries”.

Jailed French Tourist Benjamin Briere Summoned to Appear in Court After 600 Days in Jail

On January 20, the trial of jailed French tourist Benjamin Briere will be held for the first time after 600 days in jail awaiting legal proceedings.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Briere is French citizen who has been jailed in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad City.

His lawyer, Saeed Dehghan, confirmed that the court session will be held and that his client will defend himself in court against the charges of “spying” and “propaganda against the regime”. Two other charges of “spreading corruption on earth” and “alcohol drinking” have already been dismissed by the court.

In May 2020, Briere was arrested by security forces and has since been jailed in Vakilabad Prison.

According to Dehghan, these charges were based on actions such as taking aerial photos with a remote-controlled helicam and posing questions like “why is the veil (Hijab) forced in Iran but not other Islamic countries”.

“Despite so many ambiguities and contradictions in this case, as his lawyer, I have been denied any access to the documents, which is disastrous,” Dehghan told HRANA.

Imprisoned French Tourist Benjamin Briere On Hunger Strike in Vakilabad Prison

French Tourist Benjamin Briere, currently imprisoned in Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad City went on hunger strike to protest being deprived of his inalienable right as a prisoner to contact his family on Christmas night.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Briere has been jailed in Vakilabad since May 2020 when he was arrested by security forces.

“What is the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad waiting for in order to proceed Benjamin Briere’s case after 570 days in detention?” his lawyer, Saeed Dehghan, asked on his personal page on social media.

Dehghan was informed about charges of spying and propaganda against the regime against his client. Two other charges of “spreading corruption on earth” and “alcohol drinking” had been already dismissed by the court.

Per Briere’s lawyer, actions such as taking aerial photos with a remote-controlled helicam and posing some questions like “why is the veil (Hijab) forced in Iran but not other Islamic countries” were invoked as examples for charges of “spying” and “propaganda against the regime” respectively during in the last court session held in February 2021.

“A report published by Figaro used the word “drone”, while he had just used a normal helicam. This mistranslation brought about some misunderstanding regarding the charges in the media. Additionally, this report wrongly called him a French-Iranian dual citizen, while he is a French citizen,” Dehghan told HRANA.