Iran may bail French researcher this week

14th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Clotilde Reiss may be bailed out this week of Tehran prison to await her verdict in French Embassy, says her father.

Paris – Iranian officials may release on bail a French academic accused of spying later this week, the young woman's father said on Thursday, six weeks after her arrest.

"Everything is going in the right direction and in the coming hours, by Saturday at the latest, Clothilde should be able to come out of her cell," Remi Reiss told AFP.

Clothide Reiss, 24, was among at least 110 defendants tried last week on charges related to huge protests across Iran after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election in June following a disputed vote.

She was accused of spying and taking part in a Western plot to destabilise the government of the Islamic republic, apparently because she attended a street protest and emailed a picture to a friend.

Reiss told France Inter radio earlier that France would pay "a few hundred thousand dollars" in bail to Iranian authorities, so that his daughter could await the verdict in her trial at the French embassy in Tehran.

"The modalities are taking shape," Reiss told AFP.

"There is payment of bail, I believe, and also a matter regarding a guarantee because her release would be conditional on her residing at the embassy."

Securing Reiss' release has been a diplomatic priority for France, with President Nicolas Sarkozy raising the case with other leaders including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who intervened on his behalf with Tehran.

Reiss, who taught French at a university in the central city of Isfahan, has been held at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

During her court appearance, Reiss said she had written a one-page report on post-election protests in Isfahan and submitted it to the cultural attache at the French embassy, according to Iranian press agency reports.

The official IRNA news agency reported that she was charged with "collecting information and provoking rioters."

The trial hearings ended on Wednesday and Reiss was awaiting the verdict.

"She is living alone in her cell and I think that the situation is becoming frankly painful and that it is time for this joke to end and we are all awaiting her release with impatience," said the father.

"I am mostly optimistic because now I think that we are on top of matters," he added.

Reiss was put on trial along with French embassy employee Nazak Afshar, a French-Iranian woman who was freed from prison on Tuesday.

The French government denounced the women's trial as a travesty of justice and repeatedly demanded that the charges be dropped and the pair be released.

Tehran has hit back at Western criticism of the mass trials, saying it would strongly resist such "foreign intervention" in its domestic affairs.

AFP / Expatica

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