Iran: French ‘spy’ out on bail

Clotilde Reiss, a French teacher accused of spying in the aftermath of the Iranian elections, was released on bail yesterday after spending a month and a half in Tehran’s now infamous Evin prison.

Just shy of her 24th birthday when she was arrested at the airport, she turned 24 in jail, far away from friends and family in France. Now that she has been released – France solicited Syria’s help in getting Iran to let her go, albeit temporarily – she will stay at the French embassy in Tehran until the verdict is issued.

Clotilde ReissShe was tried in the company of about 100 other defendants, in a trial that was aired on TV – likely as a deterrent to other protesting Iranians. Her ‘spy’ activities include attending the recent anti-election demonstrations, emailing a friend about them and sending a report on the events to the French Institute of Iranian Studies, none of which she carried out in a secretive manner. But in Iran these days, it seems all a foreigner has to do to get slapped with spy charges is get lost hiking. If you’re actually sending reports abroad – forget about it.

President Sarkozy of France says “nothing can justify” Iran’s actions with regards to Reiss. He has called for the process to “be ended as soon as possible.”

To date, about 140 people have been tried for participating in the opposition movement that followed the re-election of President Ahmadinejad.

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