PARIS (Le Figaro/AFP) — The Azerbaijani ambassador to Paris announced on Tuesday, January 9, the arrest of a French national named Martin Ryan on December 4. He must remain in detention for at least four months.
France considers the detention in Azerbaijan “arbitrary” and the government called for his release “without delay.” Earlier this Tuesday, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Paris told AFP that a French national, accused of espionage, was arrested on December 4.
“Suspected of having committed acts of espionage, Martin Ryan (…) was arrested on December 4,” said Leyla Abdullayeva. “Later, the courts ordered his detention for a period of four months,” she explained, stressing that “as soon as he was arrested, the French embassy in Baku was informed by a verbal note.”
The case was leaked a few days ago in online media, particularly in Azerbaijan, but without official confirmation until now. “We spoke with him four times, each time for two minutes. He says he is well treated and gets along well with his lawyer,” his father Richard Ryan told AFP.
Diplomatic tensions rose a notch between Paris and Baku at the end of December, with the mutual expulsion of two diplomats, while Baku has been criticizing Paris for several months for its support for rival Armenia. France had declared two Azerbaijani diplomats “persona non grata” as a “measure of reciprocity,” after Baku’s decision the day before to expel two French diplomats.
France’s stated support for Armenia, in conflict with Azerbaijan, has also earned it harsh criticism from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. For its part, Paris had accused actors linked to Azerbaijan in November of having led a campaign of information manipulation aimed at damaging France’s reputation in its ability to host the 2024 Olympic Games.