French academic freed from Iran, heading home: presidency

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Clotilde Reiss, the French academic arrested and held in Iran since last July has been released and is on the way home, the French president's office announced Sunday.

"The President of the Republic will receive her and her family at the Elysee Palace as soon as she arrives in Paris," at around 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), said the statement.

"Clotilde Reiss has boarded a French government plane at Dubai airport and is currently en route towards France," the statement added.

Reiss was arrested for allegedly participating in demonstrations against the disputed presidential election.

Her lawyer, Mohammad Ali Mahdavi Sabet, said on Saturday that a court had issued a ruling allowing her to leave Iran.

Mahdavi Sabet said Reiss had been sentenced to "pay a fine of 285,000 dollars (230,000 euros)," for her crimes, adding that he had paid the money on Saturday and had not lodged an appeal.

Reiss, 24, was arrested on July 1 during post-election unrest and put on trial in August charged with acting against national security.

Described by those who know her as a serious scholar passionate about the Iranian language and culture, she was arrested before flying home after completing a six-month teaching and research assignment in the city of Isfahan.

© 2010 AFP

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