Benjamin Brière, French national held in Iran, launches new hunger strike

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Benjamin Brière, a French national held in Iran, has gone on hunger strike for the second time since his incarceration in May 2020, his sister and his lawyer said Monday.


Brière, who was sentenced to eight years in jail for espionage, is one of seven French and more than two dozen foreign nationals who campaigners say Iran has jailed in a strategy to extract concessions from the West.

Held in the prison of Vakilabad in the eastern city of Mashhad, Brière went on a hunger strike at the end of December 2021.

He stopped eating on January 28, his sister Blandine Brière said in a statement. 

“It’s the only weapon he has.”

Philippe Valent, Brière’s France-based lawyer, called the espionage charges against him “fiction” and his trial “a parody staged by the Revolutionary Guards”, the branch of the Iranian security forces entrusted with the preservation of the regime.

Valent said Brière is “mentally and physically exhausted” in the “gloomy” prison that he said was known for frequent “extra-judicial executions” of inmates. 

Iran needed to be held accountable for the danger to Brière’s “physical and mental wellbeing”, Valent said, adding that the conditions of Brière’s incarceration were “exceptionally harsh” and he is being denied his rights.

Another detainee in Iran, 64-year-old Franco-Irish citizen Bernard Phelan held since October 1, last month suspended a hunger strike that included refusing water, at the request of his family who feared for his life.

Phelan, a Paris-based travel consultant, was arrested while travelling and is being held in Mashhad in northeastern Iran. Iran accuses him of anti-government propaganda, a charge he has denied.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Source: Thanks france24