Iran denies security forces killed 16-year-old girl, says she fell from roof – Iranian media

JEDDAH: France on Thursday accused the Iranian regime of taking two of its citizens hostage after Tehran released video footage of the couple making forced confessions of being spies.

Cécile Kohler, head of the French teachers’ union, and her partner Jacques Paris were arrested in May for fomenting “insecurity” in Iran. France condemned the arrests and demanded their immediate release.

In Thursday’s television footage, Kohler “confessed” to being an agent of the French foreign intelligence service, in Iran to “prepare the ground for the revolution and the overthrow of the regime of Islamic Iran”. Paris said: “Our goal in the French security service is to put pressure on the Iranian government.”

The video sparked anger in France. “The staging of their alleged confessions is scandalous, appalling, unacceptable and contrary to international law,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre.

“This charade reveals the contempt for human dignity that characterizes the Iranian authorities. These alleged confessions extracted under duress have no basis, nor the reasons given for their arbitrary arrest.

The French couple’s appearance on TV coincides with weeks of anti-government protests in Iran following the death last month in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. He also came a day after a debate in the French Senate in which all political parties condemned Iran’s crackdown on protests.

Rights groups say Iranian state media aired more than 350 forced confessions between 2010 and 2020. Four French citizens are in jail in Iran and France is assessing whether another may have been arrested during the current protests.

In an October 5 tweet, human rights activists in Iran and 19 other human rights organizations called on US President Joe Biden in an open letter to “address the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown against the Mahsa Amini protests and the current human rights crisis in Iran”.

“The people of Iran need the support of the United States and the entire international community to realize their rights and freedoms,” the letter said.

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