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French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah

Iran has temporarily released French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, who has been in jail for more than a year over security breaches, her lawyer said on October 3.

"Fariba Adelkhah has come out [of prison] on leave with an electronic ankle bracelet," Said Dehghan said in a tweet, without providing other details.

Adelkhah is now with her family in Tehran, Dehghan told AFP, adding that "we hope that this temporary release will become final."

Adelkhah, a prominent anthropologist and specialist in Shi’ite Islam who often traveled to Iran for research, was arrested in June 2019. She is a citizen of Iran and France, but Tehran does not recognize dual nationality.

Adelkhah was sentenced on May 16 to five years in prison for "gathering and conspiring against national security."

French President Emmanuel Macron said in June that Adelkhah had been "arbitrarily arrested in Iran" and called her detainment "unacceptable."

Iran had rejected previous calls to release Adelkhah, saying the demands amounted to interference in Tehran's internal affairs.

Adelkhah's French colleague and partner Roland Marchal, who was detained with her, was released in March in a prisoner exchange between Iran and France.

Marchal was swapped for engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad, but there had been little indication that Adelkhah would be released in a similar manner.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
The Kamchatka Peninsula is rich in marine life.

Authorities in Russia’s Far East are warning people to avoid beaches on the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula after a mass die-off of marine life.

Videos of the mass die-off appeared on social media on October 2, showing dead seals, fish, and other marine creatures littering at least three beaches on the Avacha Bay.

Surfers reported eye and skin irritation following contact with the water.

Activists believe the die-off was caused by a release of petroleum products.

Acting Natural Resources Minister Aleksei Kumarkov said that after checking water samples, experts found an excess of oil products, phenol, and other substances, according to the Russian branch of the Greenpeace environmental group.

"The extent of the pollution has not yet been determined, but the fact that dead animals are found all over the coast confirms the seriousness of the situation," Greenpeace said in a press release on October 2.

The organization said many people who have been in contact with water also show symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, weakness, high fever, which may indicate phenol poisoning.

Officials said the results of an analysis of water samples would be available on October 5.

Greenpeace called the incident “an ecological catastrophe” and urged the Natural Resources Ministry, the Defense Ministry, and the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate the incident and undertake a clean-up.

The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement on October 3 saying the Pacific Fleet played no role in the incident.

With reporting by dpa and Reuters

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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