Wednesday, December 23, 2009

French Academic's Trial Resumes on Wednesday

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Agence France Presse (AFP)

The trial in Iran of French academic Clotilde Reiss will resume on Wednesday, as a verdict is expected for the researcher who was arrested after June's disputed presidential election, the Fars news agency reported. "This Wednesday the trial of this French national will be held in the presence of a lawyer and a prosecutor's representative," Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted as saying. "We should wait for the decision of the court," he added. Dolatabadi was asked about the idea of exchanging Reiss with an Iranian jailed in France. "Iran's judiciary insists on acting within the framework of its legal authority, and if France wants this problem solved it must respect Iran's legal rules," Dolatabadi said.

On Monday, France refused to release an Iranian agent jailed for the murder of a former prime minister in exchange for the freedom of Reiss. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner insisted that Paris would not bow to what he said was pressure from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to swap the 24-year-old Reiss's freedom for that of Ali Vakili Rad. Reiss was arrested in the wake of the protests that followed Iran's disputed presidential election in June, shortly before she was due to fly home after a six-month study and teaching visit to the Iranian city of Isfahan. She was accused of supporting the opposition protests and was one of scores of people paraded before cameras at a televised show trial, before being remanded in custody in Tehran's notorious Evin jail. She was bailed in August and is staying at the French embassy awaiting the outcome of her case. The last hearing was held on November 17.