An Iranian court on Tuesday sentenced a French man to eight years in prison on charges of spying. Benjamin Brière, 36, was arrested in May 2020 for flying a recreational drone in the desert near the Turkmenistan-Iran border while on vacation in Iran.
As we reported earlier, Iran prohibits photography in the area and pretty much bans drones altogether. But Brière, who had been traveling and living in a van in the region, has consistently denied any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, he has also been on a hunger strike since Christmas to protest mistreatment in the Iranian jail where he’s being held.
Brière’s Paris-based lawyer Philippe Valent calls Tuesday’s verdict “a result of a purely political process.” France’s foreign ministry has also called the conviction “unacceptable,” saying it has “no basis in fact.”
The trial, which began last Thursday, was held behind closed doors. Valent says Brière was not even fully informed of the charges against…