Louis Arnaud, a French tourist arbitrarily jailed in Iran for 344 days, is celebrating his 36th birthday behind bars.
“Today Louis is celebrating his 36th birthday in prison in Tehran. We think strongly of him, his parents, his sister. Let's say STOP together! To support them, we are calling on you to tweet a photo of you holding a candle!” his support committee tweeted on September 7.
Arnaud was arrested in Iran on September 28 after crossing Italy, Greece, Turkey, Georgia and Armenia.
He is being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison, “without any substantiated charges brought against him," his support committee said in July, expressing concern about the "psychological and physical consequences and irreversible effects that this prolonged detention" could have on the prisoner.
An online petition calling for Arnaud’s release has gathered more than 106,000 signatures.
Aujourd’hui Louis vit son 36ème anniversaire en prison à Téhéran. Nous pensons fortement à lui à ses parents, sa sœur. Disons STOP ensemble ! Pour les soutenir, nous vous proposons de Twitter une photo de vous tenant une bougie ! #FreeLouisArnaud @EmmanuelMacron@francediplo_EN pic.twitter.com/bC1b1PUOBw— Comité soutien de Louis Arnaud #FreeLouisArnaud (@freelouisarnaud) September 7, 2023
Three other French nationals, whom Paris describes as "state hostages," are detained in Iran.
Western governments have repeatedly accused the Islamic Republic of taking dual and foreign nationals hostage for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps or as a bargaining chip in international negotiations.
Many European countries have urged their nationals not to travel to Iran, warning that they face the risk of arbitrary arrest or unfair trial.