Media coverage available here 

October 27, 2023: The beautiful lessons of a detention in spite of myself

During the wonderful welcome session organized, with energy and finesse, on the initiative of Sciences Po director Mathias Vicherat - for which I sincerely thank him and his entire team - and the warm and friendly welcome extended to me by the beautiful community of my university, a gentle voice rose to ask me the following question: where did you draw your energy from to live through the difficulties of a four-year confinement? It's an interesting question, and a recurring one at that, bringing tears to my eyes to realize that I wasn't the only one waiting for the end of my deprivation of liberty! I want to say today, loud and clear, that I was able to live it thanks to you. What a wonderful lesson in loyalty to principles, what a wonderful lesson in friendship you've taught me! So I'd like to ask you again: how did you manage to keep going for so long? Allow me to thank all of you, as well as my unstinting support committee, and in particular Béatrice Hibou, for holding on for so long! The fact that tears flow so easily these days does not prevent me from knowing that I owe you, in return, my analyses of this situation. I won't fail you, but please give me a little time. I'll come back to you very soon, now free, without an electronic wristband and faithful to my workstation. 


20 October 2023: Fariba has returned to the walls of her home institution, Sciences Po. We were finally able to take down the banner of support from the pediment of Sciences Po. A warm and moving tribute was paid to her by all her colleagues and students, in the presence of Mathias Vicherat, Frédéric Mion and Marie-Christine Lemardeley. 
Thank you all for your support over the years! 
Welcome back Fariba!


18 October 2023: Fariba has returned to France!

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to French diplomacy, in particular the Crisis Unit and our embassy in Tehran; my lawyers Saïd Dehghan and Hojjat Kermani, who was more than a lawyer, an incomparable support and friend; my institution Sciences Po, in particular Mathias Vicherat, Michel Gardette, Vanessa Scherrer and Stéphanie Balme, but also Bénédicte Durand and Frédéric Mion who was able to send his affection all the way to Iran; the Paris City Council and in particular Marie-Christine Lemardeley; the Strasbourg City Council; my colleagues at the Centre for International Studies at Sciences Po and my colleagues from elsewhere; the European Network for the Analysis of Political Societies (Réseau européen d’analyse des soiétés politiques – REASOPO) and in particular its president Irene Bono ; my friends in Iran and Afghanistan, whose gestures of solidarity and friendship in such difficult circumstances have touched me deeply; my little Iranian and Alsatian families, and Béatrice’s very large family; all those who have accompanied me through this ordeal, in Iran, in France and around the world, particularly in Switzerland and Italy.

While in captivity, I was saddened to learn of the death of François Nicoullaud, who did so much for relations between France and Iran without always being understood in his own country.

My first thought on landing was for Osman Kavala, unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment in Turkey. My thoughts also go to my former cellmates in Evin, notably Niloufar Bayani, Sepideh Kashani and Kylie Moore Guilbert, who supported me from the moment I was provisionally arrested, and to my French compatriots who have not yet regained their freedom.

That is all behind me now. What remains are all the gestures of friendship and commitment, the engagement of people both known and unknown, friends for a day and friends for ever. And, of course, what the support committee has been able to do beyond my case, for more than 4 years, out of loyalty to the principle of scientific freedom. Thank you in particular to Sandrine, Marielle, Richard, Corinne and Martine, and to all those who supported the initiatives of my friends Jean-François and Béatrice, for whom words are not enough to express my feelings.

I have nothing else to add: to all of you, a huge thank you!


5 June 2023 : Fourth anniversary of Fariba's arrest
This Monday 5 June marks four years since Fariba was arrested at Tehran airport, together with Roland. She remains deprived of her freedom, even though she has been released from prison. Her rights have still not been recognised - she is of course innocent of the charges against her - and her identity papers have not been returned to her. As a result, she cannot leave Iran or resume her work as a researcher. Our thoughts are with her and Roland on this sad anniversary.
But in accordance with her wishes, our thoughts also go out to her companions in misfortune, both foreign and Iranian, and in particular to her former fellow environmentalist prisoners, as well as to all scientific and cultural prisoners around the world. The outcome of the elections in Turkey reminded us that thousands of innocent people are languishing in its jails, like our friend Osman Kavala. And we recall the arrest in Algeria of the researcher Raouf Farrah. We wish everyone a speedy release, because their struggle is our struggle.

Fariba Adelkhah Support Committee

10 Februray 2023 : FARIBA IS FREE!
Fariba has been released from Evin prison tonight!! It is for all of us an immense joy and a relief. We are awaiting more information at this time. We of course hope for a happy ending for all the hostages still held, with a special thought for Bernard Phelan whose health is rapidly deteriorating and Benjamin Brière on hunger strike since January 28.

28 January 2023 : 
Rally at the Trocadéro in Paris in support of the seven French people held hostage in Iran




14-16 September 2022
Semaine des libertés de Sciences Po

Intervention by Mathias Vicherat, Director of Sciences Po (see the video by clicking on the photo)

Béatrice Hibou on the situation of Fariba, an academic prisoner since 5 June 2019, and on the deteriorating state of academic freedom in the world (click on the photo))
Part 1 & 2

Read Béatrice Hibou's intervention on 14 September HERE
The week of academic freedom was dedicated to Fariba Adelkhah

29 August 2022 : In the new issue of Sociétés politiques comparées (57, May-August 2022), Peter Geschiere (Amsterdam University) writes about the Secrets of Fariba Adelkhah’s Anthropology. Thinking of Fariba and with her.
Read The Secrets of Fariba Adelkhah’s Anthropology
. Intimacy and Mobility

5 June 2022: Three years already...
Read the text by Alain Dieckhoff, director of CERI

7 June 2022: The hall of the German Historical Institute in Paris was packed on 7 June, to celebrate the sad anniversary of Fariba's three-year imprisonment but also to express our support for Osman Kavala, the Memorial association and the thousands of researchers and artists deprived of their freedom around the world.

Fariba Adelkhah three years event

German Historical Institute


A big thank you to the artists: to the wonderful dancer Bilal Alami, to Laure Degras for this magnificent portrait of Fariba and to her son Lou for his presence, to the musicians/singers Hande Topaloğlu, Vaskén Solakian, Gilles Andrieux, Maryna Voznyuk, to the actresses Shofoga Arwin, Maryam Sepehr and Maryam Yousoufi.
Thanks also to Thomas Maissen, Bénédicte Durand, Marie-Christine Lemardeley, Mathias Vicherat, Ahmet Insel, Natalia Morozova and Ioulia Shoukan for their interventions and of course thanks to the colleagues, friends and faithful who have been present for three years. Your support is precious.
A final thank you to Laurent Gayer, Richard Banégas, Corinne Deloy, Marielle Debos and Sandrine Perrot for their photos.

Our mobilisation and determination are as strong as they were on the first day to demand Fariba Adelkhah's immediate and unconditional release!
#Free Fariba

18 May 2022: Press release: Free European Hostages in Iran
Access the press release on the Support committee's website here

1000 days of prison for Fariba Adelkhah. Gathering in Paris

1 March 2022: Today, Fariba Adelkhah has been a scientific prisoner for 1000 days in Iran. Watch the video of the gathering that took place in the centre of Paris. 


February 2022: Sandrine Perrot walks us through what happened to Fariba, her background, the conditions she’s being held in, her health issues as well as her unfair trial and sentence. Sandrine also talks about how the Free Fariba Support Committee was created, the toll Fariba’s imprisonment has taken on her loved ones, what the French government and European Union can do to free Fariba as well as how journalists and the public can help.

Watch the VIDEO.

February 11, 2022:
The EASA - European Association of Social Anthropologists - calls for the release of Dr. Fariba Adelkah

18 January 2022: "Iranian Authorities Send Iranian-French Researcher Back to Prison”, Human Rights Watch

Iranian authorities reincarcerated prominent French-Iranian prominent academic Fariba Adelkhah, the Fariba Adelkhah Support Committee reported on January 12. In October 2020, authorities had released Adelkhah, who had been detained in Evin prison since July 2019, to house arrest with an electronic tag.
The Iranian authorities have claimed that Adelkhah had failed to comply with the rules of her house arrest without providing any additional details. In June 2020, an Iranian court upheld a 5-year prison sentence against Adelkhah, an anthropologist at the Sciences Po university, on vague national security charges.
Adelkhah’s case is one of the several known instances of Iranian dual nationals who are detained in Iran on vaguely defined national security charges with authorities failing to provide any convincing evidence for their charges. Human Rights Watch has documented the pattern of Iranian authorities’ targeting of foreign and dual nationals with unfounded charges and using them as bargaining chips in negotiations with western countries.
The reimprisonment of Fariba Adelkah once again shows the cynicism and cruelty of this policy. Authorities should immediately release her. 

12 January 2022
: Fariba has been reincarcerated in the prison of Evin

Fariba Adelkhah was suddenly reincarcerated in Tehran in circumstances that remain obscure. We are outraged and deeply shocked by this new show of force by the Iranian authorities.

We colleagues and friends of Fariba at CERI are with her in this ordeal to which she is, once again, subjected. Ever since her arrest on 5 June 2019, Fariba has impressed us with her courage and resilience, throughout her initial detention in the prison of Evin, her hunger strike, her trial and conviction. Her house arrest in October 2020 raised the hope that her sentence would be reduced or that she might even be released early. This prospect has now been swept away by her reincarceration.

Our concern and our indignation at the arbitrariness of the Iranian authorities, which we continue to denounce together with the Support Committee, are unwavering. We will never stop fighting for her unconditional release and her return among us.

A gathering to protest this groundless imprisonment is planned for Thursday 13 January at 4 p.m. in front of Sciences Po headquarters at 27 rue Saint-Guillaume, Paris.

The CERI Executive Board


Call for action by Mathias Vicherat, President of Sciences Po

Dear colleagues, 

We have learnt with indignation, anger and sadness that our colleague Fariba Adelkhah has been reincarcerated. We wish to express our unconditional support to Farida, her friends and family, and remain fully committed to act towards her immediate release. 

Fariba has been detained in Iran for almost a thousand days now and sentenced to five years of imprisonment, after being tried unfairly on the basis of false accusations. This sentence, announced on May 16th, 2020, was transformed on October 3rd, 2020, into house arrest with an electronic bracelet.

A gathering in solidarity with Fariba will take place in front of the Sciences Po entrance, at 27 rue Saint Guillaume, on January 13th at 4pm.

Kind regards,

Mathias Vicherat

Pictures of the gathering in front of Sciences Po headquarters, 13 January 2022

Gathering in front of Sciences Po for Fariba Adelkhah.    Gathering in front of Sciences Po for Fariba Adelkhah


Gathering in front of Sciences Po for Fariba Adelkhah     

Gathering in front of Sciences Po for Fariba Adelkhah

Photos by Thomas Arrivé, Richard Banégas and Laurent Gayer

Read the Support Committee's Communiqué


9 December 2021
"Imaginaires sociaux de la frontière : Penser à Fariba à travers ses travaux"
Fifth session of the seminar
Listen to the PODCAST

21 November 2021: Fariba Adelkhah has been a scientific prisoner of the Islamic Republic of Iran for 900 days. He fight is our fight, freedom for Fariba!

Le Silence Fariba Adelkhah

27 September 2021: Fanny Poujade and Kylie Moore Gilbert read Fariba's poem, Le Silence.

Access the reading in French and in English here.



23 & 24 September 2021: "Liberté scientifique et risques du métier : la recherche comme profession"
A two-day event organized by the group "Sociologie et anthropologie sociale du politique. Fariba - Penser en pensant à elle"

5 June 2021
: Two years of detention for Fariba Adelkhah

5 May 2021: 700 days of detention for Fariba Adelkhah

March 2021: Critique Internationale dedicated a special issue to the work of Fariba Adelkhah. Read the introduction and the editorial, online:

- Editorial: Freedom for Fariba Adelkhah, by the Editorial Committee

- Introduction: "Fariba Adelkhah, or the One Thousand and One Borders of Anthropological Fieldwork", by Béatrice Hibou

December 2020: Fariba has been awarded the Irène Joliot-Curie "female scientist of the year award"! More info here.

November 2020: Arrested in Tehran in June 2019, and then sentenced to 5 years in prison on the basis of false accusations, our colleague, Fariba Adelkhah has long studied a wide range of travels. In this introductory article –  “Rereading Fariba Adelkhah: on the road from Teheran to Damascus” – we present one of her works, in which she reveals the unexpected dimensions of a pilgrimage of Iranian women to Damascus. Her anthropological perspective uncovers the social significance of the details of daily life

15 October 2020: Sciences Po continues to mobilise all its communities on behalf of our colleague and friend, Fariba Adelkhah, who is still incarcerated in Iran. We will not abandon our calls for her unconditional release.

A socially distant and masked human chain took place over the lunch break on 15 October. Starting at 1:30pm, the chain ran from 27 rue St Guillaume to 56 rue Jacob.

Sciences Po strongly supports Fariba and renews once again our calls for her unconditional release.

9 October 2020: During the Dies Academicus 2020, the University of Geneva awarded Fariba Adelkhah the title of Honoris Causa, in support of her fight for academic freedom and as an acknowledgment of her great work as an anthropologist.

Fariba Adelkhah Dies Academicus 2020 Geneva

3 October 2020: Iran grants Fariba temporary release! She is currently in Tehran with her family with an electronic bracelet

30 June 2020: Iran's Appeal Court has confirmed the five-year prison sentence for Fariba.

5 June 2020: Fariba Adelkhah, researcher at the CERI Sciences Po, has now been in prison in Iran for one year.

Frederic Mion's letter of support can be accessed here


On 16 May 2020, Fariba Adelkhah was sentenced to six years in prison by the 15th Chamber of the Tehran Court. 

Read the letter sent by Olivier Duhamel, President of the FNSP, and Frédéric Mion, President of Sciences Po, to Sciences Po communities on 16 May 2020.

25 April 2020: Frédéric Mion, Olivier Duhamel, Roland Ries, Anne Hidalgo and Jean-Yves Le Drian send Fariba their wishes for her birthday. See the card here.

We have been in lockdown for more than a month. Fariba Adelkhah, a researcher at the International Research Centre of Sciences Po Paris, has been in prison for more than 300 days in Iran. By posting her face on the websites of academic institutions and research teams in Europe and elsewhere, we want to show the support of the scientific community and urge the French government to do everything possible to secure her release.

Fariba Adelkhah 300 days in prison in Iran

Copyright: Stéphanie Samper

Fariba Fariba is in danger. We must act urgently for her.

20 March 2020: Roland Marchal has been released after nine long months (290 days) of detention in Iran.

Read the text by Alain Dieckhoff, director of CERI.

Read the text by Olivier Duhamel (President of the FNSP) and Frédéric Mion (Director of SciencesPo).

3 March 2020: Official date of the trial. Silent gatherings at Sciences Po, Paris, in Strasbourg and in Geneva, in support of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal.

2 March 2020: Fariba Adelkhah awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Geneva.

20 February 2020: Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, former students of the city of Strasbourg, awarded the city's medal of honour, in absencia.

17 February 2020: 
Meeting of support for Fariba Adelkhah, Roland Marchal, Kylie Moore-Gilbert and other detainees
 "Unjustified Captives: Knowledge under Attack" King’s College London.

16 February 2020: Read the tribute published on Democracy in Africa.

11 February: Silent gathering at the Parvis des Droits de l'Homme, Trocadero, Paris, in support of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, with dancer Alioune Diagne. Watch the video of the event.

5 February 2020: CNRS Section 40 asks for immediate end of academic cooperation with Iran. Read the communiqué (French only)

31 January 2020: Access the full podcast of the conference Captifs sans Motifs, 31 January 2020, Sciences Po, and a short video with some of the participants.

16 January 2020: The CNRS demands the immediate release of the researchers detained in Iran. Read the press release

Fariba Adelkhah and Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Australian academic also detained at Evin prison, began a hunger strike on 24 December 2019 to demand their release but also that of other academic prisoners in Iran and the Middle East. In the name of academic freedom, both are entering a new phase of struggle and are calling for our support.They issued an open letter available here.

In the European Parliament resolution of 19 December 2019 on the violent crackdown on the recent protests in Iran (2019/2993(RSP)), the European Parliament "urges the Iranian authorities to immediately release Roland Marchal and Fariba Adelkhah, as well as all the human rights defenders who have been imprisoned and sentenced for simply exercising their rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly".


By Jean-François Bayart, Professor at IHEID (Geneva). Incarcerated in Iran since the beginning of June, Fariba Adelkhah, a specialist in social anthropology and political anthropology of post-revolutionary Iran, has been a researcher at the Centre for International Studies (CERI) since 1993. Her initial work focused on women and the Islamic Revolution. Her current research focuses on the circulation of Shiite clerics between Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. Internationally recognised and respected by her peers, Fariba Adelkhah is today an academic prisoner... Read more

Roland Marchal, chercheur au CERI, emprisonné en Iran depuis juin 2019


Biography written by Didier Péclard, University of Geneva, and Sandrine Perrot (CERI Sciences Po). Roland Marchal is a sociologist with the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and he has worked as a researcher at the Centre for International Studies of Sciences Po (CERI) since 1997. Today, he is an academic prisoner. Much of Roland Marchal's research has focused on analyzing civil wars in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in their relation to state formation. Roland is a tireless and energetic fieldworker, meticulous and zealous in his research. He has always pushed himself to the limits in a quest to bring out innovations and nuances throughout his research interests... Read more


The international support committee was officialised in October 2019. Its aim is to mobilize the academic community for the release of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal, and to defend the independence and freedom of research in regions of the world where it is increasingly threatened and politically exploited.

About the International Suppport Committee

The detention in Iran of our colleague Roland Marchal was revealed to the public in October Fariba Adelkhah’s incarceration was made known in July.

Two prominent French academics, both internationally renowned researchers, are in prison in Teheran today.

Fariba, an anthropologist, joined CERI in 1993. Roland, a sociologist with the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), has been part of CERI since 1997.

Twice now our centre has been affected by this incomprehensible and unprecedented attack on French citizens.

All members of CERI assure Fariba and Roland of their unwavering support and friendship during this terrible ordeal and share their families’ anxiety.

The CERI in its entirety vigorously condemns this blatant and unacceptable violation of the freedom of research by the Iranian authorities, in the case of Fariba and Roland, as well as that of all the other researchers detained in Iran, whatever their nationality.

They urge the French, European and international academic community of every discipline to suspend all current cooperation with Iran as a sign of solidarity and protest.

CERI, 16 October 2019


Les Dossiers du CERI

May 2013
Iran : une époque révolue
Coordinated by Fariba Adelkhah


Critique internationale

April 2003, n°19
Partir sans quitter, quitter sans partir
Fariba Adelkhah

July 2001, n°12
Qui a peur du mollah Omar ? L’économie morale du « talebanisme » dans le Golfe

Fariba Adelkhah

Winter 2000, n°6
Iran : les enjeux des élections législatives
Fariba Adelkhah and Jean-François Bayart



2016, Routledge
The Thousand and One Borders of Iran. Travel and Identity
Fariba Adelkhah

2013, Éditions Le Cavalier Bleu
Les paradoxes de l’Iran. Idées reçues sur la République islamique
Fariba Adelkhah

2012, Éditions Karthala
Les mille et une frontières de l'Iran. Quand les voyages forment la nation
Fariba Adelkhah

2011, Routledge
The Moral Economy of the Madrasa. Islam and Education Today
Fariba Adelkhah and Keiko Sakurai (Eds)

2007, Éditions Karthala
Voyages du développement. Emigration, commerce, exil
Fariba Adelkhah and Jean-François Bayart (Eds)

2006, Éditions Karthala
Être moderne en Iran
Fariba Adelkhah

2000, CNRS Éditions
Ramadan et politique
Fariba Adelkhah and François Georgeon (Eds)

1993, Éditions Complexe
Thermidor en Iran
Fariba Adelkhah, Jean-François Bayart and Olivier Roy

1991, Éditions Karthala
La révolution sous le voile. Femmes islamiques d'Iran
Fariba Adelkhah


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