Spy charges against French woman baseless

The first time we got wind of the French woman who was recently arrested in Iran for spying, not too many details of her circumstances had yet been shared with the public – not even her name. Slowly, more information is filtering out – perhaps with the hopes that a name and a face will help to rally the sort of support that helped secure Roxana Saberi’s freedom.

Clotilde ReissHer name is Clotilde Reiss, and she’s only 23. After being arrested by the Iranian police at the Tehran airport, she was taken to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. For the five months prior to her arrest, she had been working as a French-language teaching assistant at Esfahan University in Iran.

Bernard Poletti, France’s ambassador to Iran, was able to meet with Reiss in prison. He came bearing clothes and books for the detainee.

The Iranian authorities’ accusations of espionage seem to be rather flimsy, and French officials have said on numerous occasions that the charges are completely baseless. French President Sarkozy issued a statement that demanded Reiss’s release in no uncertain terms.

According to the Iranians, Reiss participated in the recent election protests and emailed a friend in Tehran with protest rally info. At the heart of the espionage charges are also pics she took of the protests with her mobile phone. Various sources have reported that Clotilde Reiss is not politically active and was only taking snapshots of the protests, not participating or recording the events for intelligence purposes.

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