Two Iranian translators held in case of detained French couple, mother demands their release

Two Iranian translators held in case of detained French couple, mother demands their release
2 min read
The mother of Anisha Asadollahi and her husband, Keyvan Mohtadi, who worked as translators for the detained French couple during their stay in Iran, is appealing for their release.
The mother of Anisha Asadollahi, said the translator and her husband Keyvan Mohtadi have been detained for over one and a half months [Getty]

Iran is holding two Iranians who worked as translators for a French couple detained in May, the mother of one of the detainees has said, urging their immediate release.

French teachers' union official Cecile Kohler and her partner Jacques Paris have been under arrest in Iran since early May and stand accused by authorities of seeking to stir labour protests.

Anisha Asadollahi and her husband, Keyvan Mohtadi, who worked as translators for the French couple during their stay in Iran, have also now been under arrest for over one and a half months, Anisha Asadollahi's mother said.

The mother, who did not give her first name, said in a video message published by Netherlands-based Radio Zamaneh that Asadollahi and Mohdati had been arrested in a raid on their home in Tehran on May 9.

"It has been 48 days since my daughter's arrest, 33 of which she spent in solitary confinement. Her husband Keyvan has had a similar fate," she said in the video message, a translated version of which was published by the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

"Why? For being translators for two French nationals invited into the country by the Islamic Republic, and engaging in labour affairs?" she asked.

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"I appeal to all who feel a sense of responsibility to join me in demanding their immediate and unconditional release. Prison is not where translators and writers belong," she added.

French trade union officials have said Kohler and Paris were on holiday in Iran over the Easter school break. Iranian state media has broadcast footage purporting to show they met Iranian labour activists during their stay.

Iran also said earlier this month it had arrested a left-wing activist suspected of meeting two French nationals.

The arrests have come at a time of social tension in Iran, which have seen unusually frequent protests by groups, particularly including teachers, demanding better conditions at a time of economic crisis.

According to the CHRI, more than 230 teachers have been arrested in Iran since late May alone, including 23 who were summoned by the judiciary to face charges. Several detained teachers have also launched hunger strikes to protest their conditions.

Kohler and Paris are the latest Western citizens to be detained in Iran in what activists say is a deliberate policy of hostage-taking by the country to extract concessions from the West.

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