According to several sources, an exchange of prisoners between the United States and Iran would be “on the verge of success”. A hope for the 36-year-old Lyonnais imprisoned for two years, accused of espionage.
A new ray of hope for Benjamin Brière and his loved ones? According to sources quoted by the support committee for the release of researcher Fariba Adelkahles, an exchange of prisoners is “about to be completed” between the American and Iranian authorities. A rapprochement that could move the lines while the Frenchman has been imprisoned for more than two years in Iran.
The Lyonnais was arrested in May 2020 for having taken “photographs of prohibited areas” with a recreational drone in a natural park in Iran. Since then, his family and loved ones have been fighting to try to negotiate his release and repatriate him. And the softening relations between the United States and Iran can bode well.
“Get immediate release”
In a press release published on Saturday, his sister Blandine Brière calls on “the European Union, as well as each of the Member States, to obtain the immediate release of its nationals, whatever their legal status”.
On the antenna of BFM Lyon this Sunday morning, she confides “that it gives a lot of hope that the United States moves the lines”. She hopes “that the European Union and France do the same. We simply ask for their release”, she underlines.
The sister of the detainee in Iran speaks of “destroyed lives, it’s a real hell for everyone”, she wishes “a release as soon as possible”.
In the press release, she argues that “Europe should not be the useful idiot of the resumption of discussions between Washington and Tehran”.
But she also does not wish to delude herself, “its record in terms of freeing or exchanging its hostages is much worse than that of the United States even though it has maintained its diplomatic relations with Iran since the revolution of 1979”, she says.
Sentenced to eight years in prison
Accused of espionage when he always presented himself as a tourist, the 36-year-old was sentenced to eight years in prison on January 25. His lawyer has always hammered home his innocence.
A few hours after his conviction, the Quai d’Orsay denounced an “unacceptable” decision. At the time, the ministry ensured “to maintain regular contacts with him under consular protection”.
In December, Benjamin Brière had started a hunger-strike in order to protest against his conditions of detention, a decision which had greatly weakened him.