The families of the French couple arrested in Iran for five months alert this Friday, October 7 to the “inhuman conditions of detention” of Jacques Paris and Cécile Kohler.
The day after the broadcast of a “confession” video denounced by Paris, the families of the French couple arrested in Iran for five months alerted on Friday to “inhuman conditions of detention (…) for fallacious reasons” , with “unimaginable psychological pressure”.
“We are devastated, exhausted and terrified”, write in a press release sent to AFP the families of Jacques Paris and Cécile Kohler, claiming to be “without any news” from their loved ones, fearing that they will be “kept in isolation with the only human contact being that of their jailers and interrogators”. The couple are “deprived of lawyers and are repeatedly denied consular access,” the statement also said.
The two French were arrested last May at a time when Iran was the scene of demonstrations by teachers demanding reforms for an increase in their salaries and calling for the release of colleagues arrested during previous mobilizations.
On Thursday, the site of the Arabic-language channel al-Alam of the official television broadcast a video in which a young woman speaking French claims to be called Cécile Kohler and to be an operational intelligence agent at the General Directorate of External Security ( DGSE), the French intelligence services.
“‘Confessions’ extracted under duress”, “absurd” and “contrary to the values” of the couple, according to their relatives. Denouncing a “roughly edited video”, the Paris and Kohler families are worried about seeing their loved ones “emaciated and exhausted”, judging these images “unbearable”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its part again denounced this “revolting video”, which “features false confessions, extorted under duress”. France categorically denies these false accusations. It demands the immediate release of our compatriots detained arbitrarily,” he added.
Questioned by AFP, the DGSE, the French foreign intelligence service, made no comment. “Jacques and Cécile are not agents of the DGSE”, also resume their families. “Cécile is a French teacher. Jacques is retired from National Education”, further specifies the press release from the families, according to which the couple had gone to Iran as “tourists”.
The FO union, of which Cécile Kohler is a member, also denounced in a press release on Friday “a shameful and horrible manipulation, which does not deceive anyone”. The central trade union, which had never yet expressed itself on the subject, “denounces the arrest and detention of Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris” and “expresses its total indignation at the senseless and absurd accusations of the Iranian authorities”.
The secretary general of FO, Frédéric Souillot, also denounces in the press release “the cruel treatment to which they are subject, no contact, no communication having yet taken place since their arrest, and calls for their immediate release and their return to France with their families and loved ones”.
The release of the video came amid protests sparked on September 16 by the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the vice squad. Iran has repeatedly accused outside forces of stoking protests and said last week that nine foreign nationals, including from France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands, had been arrested .
Wishing to be able to “get in touch with them in order to “give them back a little strength”, the families hope that Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris will be “repatriated as soon as possible”. In addition to Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, two other French people are detained in Iran, a country accused by some Westerners of practicing hostage diplomacy to negotiate to its advantage on the international scene.