Benjamin Berier Indicted on Charges of Espionage and Spreading Propaganda Against the System

Benjamin Berier, arrested last May and held in Vakilabad Prison in the city of Mashhad since, has been indicted more than two months after giving his last defense to the Mashhad Prosecutor’s Office.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Berier’s lawyer Saeed Dehghan wrote in a note on his social media that Benjamin Berier has been found guilty on charges of spying and spreading propaganda against the system. His other two charges of drinking and spreading depravity were dropped.

According to Dehghan, photographing forbidden areas, and asking the question “Why is the hijab mandatory in the Islamic Republic but optional in other Islamic countries?” are the reasons for the accusation of spying and propaganda against the regime.

Berier’s lawyer previously told HRANA, “Despite the ambiguities and contradictions in his charges against Mr. Berier, his case has not been allowed access to a lawyer thus far, which is a catastrophe.”

Mr. Dehghan also told HRANA that translational errors from a particular French publication have exacerbated the suspicion among officials.

“In a news story published by the French newspaper Figaro, Berier’s use of the common word “drone” has been misinterpreted as a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)–Mr. Berier is a tourist who used a ‘helicam’ for photography,” Dehghan said. “The use of this word by the newspaper Figaro has caused this misconception by some media. Figaro also reported Mr. Berier is a French Iranian citizen while he actually is a French citizen.”