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Iran court upholds eight-year prison sentence for Frenchman convicted of spying

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An Iranian appeals court has upheld an eight-year prison sentence against a Frenchman convicted on spying charges, his Paris-based lawyer said Tuesday.

Benjamin Briere was arrested in May 2020 after taking pictures in a national park with a recreational drone. His lawyers and family have accused Iran of holding him as a “hostage.”

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The lawyer, Philippe Valent, said Briere’s case was being “instrumentalized” by the Iranian authorities.

“It’s shocking and dramatic,” he told AFP, adding that the verdict coincided with the resumption of negotiations between Tehran and western powers on Iran’s nuclear program.

Briere, 36, who was convicted in January for spying and propaganda against Iran’s Islamic system, had appealed the sentence.

“We ask the French, American and British authorities to make the liberation of hostages a pre-condition for the resumption of negotiations,” Valent said.

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