French teacher released after 10 month detention in Iran | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 16.05.2010
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French teacher released after 10 month detention in Iran

Clotilde Reiss, a French teacher arrested in Iran after allegedly participating in demonstrations against disputed presidential elections, has arrived back in France after being held under house arrest for 10 months.

Clotilde Reiss upon arriving in Paris

Reiss always insisted she was innocent

On Sunday morning, French teacher Clotilde Reiss boarded a plane bound for Paris, ending a period of detention in Iran that dates back to last summer.

Ten months ago, on July 1, Reiss was arrested in Tehran during demonstrations against Iran's newly elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

She was charged a month later for allegedly undermining national security and sentenced to 10 years in jail. She was released on bail to the French embassy in Tehran, where she has been staying under house arrest.

The prison sentence was commuted to a fine of 230,000 euros ($285,000). Mohammad Ali Mahdavi Sabet, Reiss's lawyer, paid the fine on Saturday, at which point Reiss was allowed to leave the country. She flew to Dubai, where she boarded a French government plane on Sunday, landing at Villacoublay air base outside Paris in the early afternoon.

Presidential reception

A woman gives a peace sign during a protest

The Iranian presidential elections triggered mass protests

Reiss was at the end of a six-month teaching and research assignment in Iran and preparing to leave the country when she was arrested. After the June 12 election, Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, which sparked controversy, mass protests and thousands of arrests.

The 24-year-old Reiss was among several foreigners detained in connection with the unrest. She was accused of participating in what Tehran considered to be a Western-led plot against the Iranian government.

Reiss and her family are to attend a reception later on Sunday given by French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

The French government has maintained her innocence throughout her detention in Iran.

mz/AFP/Reuters/AP
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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