French academic Roland Marchal released from Iranian jail

Iranian authorities have released French academic Roland Marchal, who has been imprisoned in Iran since June 2019, the French presidency said on Saturday in a statement.

Roland, a specialist in sub-Saharan conflicts, should arrive in France around noon on Saturday, according to the press release.

French President Emmanuel Macron called on the Iranian authorities to also release French citizen Fariba Adelkhah, who remains in prison, added the presidency.

France has been asking for months that Iran release the two researchers, who were both on trial in early March.

Adelkhah is a citizen of Iran and France, but Tehran does not recognize dual nationality.

The two academics have faced charges of “propaganda against the system” and “collusion to commit acts against national security,” according to their lawyer Said Dehghan.

Their Paris-based support group and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs sounded the alarm on the health of the two detainees – Adelkhah went on hunger strike for 49 days and Marchal’s health deteriorated.

The support group has repeatedly stated that the two were innocent of the charges.

Adding to concerns for the well-being of prisoners, Iran has been hit hard by the new coronavirus pandemic, behind Italy and China in death toll.