Message of the International Support Committee for Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal. June 5th, 2020.
Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, both researchers at CERI-SciencesPo/CNRS, were arrested in Iran on June 5th, 2019. On March 20th this year, Roland Marchal was released, traded for a Revolutionary Guard engineer arrested in France on an international arrest warrant issued by the United States. Fariba Adelkhah is still in prison.
She is an academic prisoner, just like Roland Marchal was. Both of them are fully devoted to their profession, and neither has engaged in any political activity in Iran, or about Iran. They were arrested because of their academic research, including their publications, and because they are researchers. Academics, yet arrested, negotiated, convicted for political reasons specific to Iran: as part of an internal settling of scores within the Revolutionary Guard, whose discretionary decision it was; to influence President Rohani’s government and help destroy the 2015 nuclear agreement, alongside the Trump administration, following the logic of complementary enmities; to pre-empt the forthcoming succession of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution; to hinder President Macron’s mediation between the United States and Iran; to obtain the release of Iranian nationals detained in Europe or the United States; or simply out of sheer ignorance of what it means to be a social scientist. For all these reasons perhaps, as none is exclusive of the others.
Fariba Adelkhah, weakened by a 49-day hunger strike, refusing to trade her conditional release (with an electronic tag) for the renunciation of her profession as a researcher, and asserting her firm intention to regain her right to retrieve her field notes and computer and to move back and forth between her two countries, Iran and France, of which she is also a citizen, was sentenced on May 16th to six years in prison. Six years of prison for 30 years of research.
We demand her immediate and unconditional release. In solidarity with a colleague unjustly accused, detained and sentenced, but also because Fariba Adelkhah’s fight for the respect of academic freedom is ours. Not for corporatist reasons, to try to protect our profession, but because academic freedom is a necessary condition for our societies to be democratic, just as freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of enterprise, and all other public freedoms. Academic research is a check, a counter-power, whose importance is abundantly evident today: for defining a foreign policy subject to public scrutiny; for combating fake news; for guaranteeing the independence of fundamental research from industrial interests, from governmental and administrative interference, or from the soft power of wealthy countries who buy academic institutions in order to shape them to their interests, as in the case of the petro-monarchies or China.
Fariba Adelkhah’s struggle is our struggle, the struggle of each and every one of us, whether we are academics or ordinary citizens. To show your support and join our e-demonstrators, click on the video just below and share the link:
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