French citizen Louis Arnaud was released from Iranian prison, Macron said

President Emmanuel Macron said Iran has released a French citizen detained on national security charges nearly two years ago.

Louis Arnaud, a banking consultant in his 30s, was arrested in September 2022 – charged with participating in anti-government protests and contributing to anti-government propaganda.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2023.

“Louis Arnaud is free. He will arrive in France tomorrow after a long period of detention in Iran,” Mr. Macron said. Posted on X.

The president thanked Oman for helping ensure his freedom and called on Iran to release three other French prisoners.

The other three are teacher Cecile Kohler and her partner Jacques Paris, and a man identified only by first name, Olivier.

“Tonight, I also think of Cecile, Jacques and Olivier,” Mr. Macron said. I call on Iran to release them immediately.”

Mr. Arnaud’s family previously said he was celebrating the birthday of one of a group of backpackers he met during a trip when they were stopped by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. All others detained, including other foreigners, have been released.

His arrest came as protests began spreading across Iran in 2022, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody.

Mr. Arnaud was detained in the notorious Evin prison in the capital Tehran, which has long been criticized by human rights groups.

Human Rights Watch has accused authorities at the prison of threatening torture and indefinite imprisonment, as well as prolonged interrogation and denying medical care to detainees.

The release comes as bilateral relations between Paris and Tehran have deteriorated in recent months.

France says the detention of its citizens are arbitrary arrests equivalent to holding state hostages. The country is also increasingly concerned about Iran’s activities in the Middle East and the advancement of its nuclear program.

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