Cécile Kohler, hostage in Iran for two years

Cécile Kohler, hostage in Iran for two years
Cécile Kohler, hostage in Iran for two years

For two years, Cécile Kohler has been detained in Iran in Evin prison. She was arrested while on a tourist trip. Since Lyon, his sister Noémie has been fighting for his release.

It says “freedom for Cécile” on the front, and her face is printed on the back.. In her Lyon apartment, Noémie Kohler presents the tote bag that the support committee “Freedom for Cécile” created. His sister’s face on everyday objects so as not to forget her, with the tenacious hope of her release.

But time seems to drag on. For two years, Cécile Kohler has been held hostage by Iran in Evin prison, in Tehran. This approved modern literature teacher, lover of adventure, was on a tourist trip to this country when she was arrested on May 7, 2022, with her companion.

She shares a 9 square meter cell with other women. She sleeps on blankets on the floor. She only had 3 consular visits under close surveillance. Apart from the rare calls she has with us, she has no connection with the outside world. She is very weak.” sighs her sister Noémie, who struggles to contain the emotion in her voice. In Lyon, she carefully guards books and archives while awaiting Cécile’s return, which is very uncertain at the moment.

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Accused of espionage by the Islamic Republic, Cécile made a confession in front of Iranian television. Coerced confessions according to his family, as is often the case. “This is a case of hostage taking. These are interests that completely exceed Cécile, which completely exceed us” explains Noémie Kohler.

Cécile’s case is not an isolated case. This is what we call Lhas hostage diplomacy” practiced by Iran, which thus hopes to obtain compensation from States in exchange for the release of their nationals. Around thirty Westerners are currently detained by the regime, often in particularly harsh conditions.

Cécile Kohler is in the infamous section 209 of Evin prison. She spent a few months in total solitary confinement, and is now only allowed three walks in the prison yard per week. During telephone conversations with her family, she is under close surveillance. “We have to learn to read between the lines to know how she is doing.” testifies Noémie.

Cécile Kohler’s family regularly organizes rallies to demand her release. Thanks to the continued media coverage of his story, those close to him hope that the mobilization will not weaken. “It’s still so hard. But we have to stay strong, we have to hang on. She needs to know that we are okay, that we are holding on. She’ll need us to be strong when she comes back.” says the spokesperson for the support committee.

For its part, the Quai d’Orsay once again denounced the permanent blackmail of the Iranian authorities. The families are preparing to contact the UN, in the hope of finding their loved ones. “The call we are really waiting for is the one from the Quai d’Orsay which will tell us that Cécile is on the plane and that she has left Iranian airspace, she is safe. There, only when we have taken her in our arms, will we be at peace” sighs Noémie Kohler.

Officially, four French people are still imprisoned in Iran. In fact, there could be more of them, because their names are not always made public.



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