An Iranian court on Tuesday convicted French national Benjamin Briere of espionage, sentencing him to eight years in prison, BFM TV reported.
Briere, 36, has been held in Iran since May 2020, when he was arrested after flying a helicam – a remote-controlled mini helicopter used to obtain aerial or motion images – in the desert near the Turkmenistan-Iran border.
Briere’s lawyer in France was not immediately available for comment.
In recent years, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners, mostly on charges related to espionage and security.
Briere’s trial came as the United States and parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, including France, tried to revive the pact after then-U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the agreement in 2018.
Rights groups have accused Iran of trying to extract concessions from other countries through such arrests. Western powers have long demanded that Tehran free their citizens, whom they say are political prisoners.
Image via Conflits France Twitter