Two Australians released from Iran detention, in good health and good spirits

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Updated

October 05, 2019 13:52:28

Australian couple Jolie King and Mark Firkin have been released from detention in Iran and all charges against them have been dropped.

Key points:

  • Jolie King and Mark Firkin had been detained in Tehran for several months after reportedly flying a drone without a permit
  • The pair had been travelling around the world since 2017 and documenting their adventures online
  • They were held at the notorious Evin jail, which is used to house political prisoners

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said the travel bloggers were in «good health and in good spirits» and have been united with their families.

The Perth couple had been detained for several months after being arrested for reportedly flying a drone without a permit. They had been travelling around the world since 2017 and documenting their adventures online.

«For Jolie and for Mark, the ordeal that they have been through is now over. They are being united with their loved ones with is a source of great relief and joy for everyone,» Senator Payne said.

«As many of you will know, Jolie and Mark were arrested and detained in Iran. They were detained for several months.

«The Government has worked very hard through diplomatic channels during that time to secure their release as well as to ensure they were treated appropriately while they were detained.

«We have done that discreetly and I would note that each case of an Australian unfortunately detained overseas is different and requires a specific and particular response.»

Senator Payne had raised the matter with the Iranian Government at a recent summit, and had been in face-to-face talks with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

She said the couple’s families were enormously relieved to know their children had been freed.

Ms King is a dual Australian-British citizen and the UK Government had demanded the couple’s release, with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab contacting the Iranian ambassador.

The UK Foreign Office said Mr Raab «raised serious concerns about the number of dual national citizens detained by Iran and their conditions of detention».

Online followers had raised concerns after the bloggers did not post for several weeks.

«Hey you guys, we are getting worried, no post or episode for over a month,» one wrote. «Hope you are both well and safe.»

They were being held at the notorious Evin jail, north of Tehran, which is used to house political prisoners.

‘We don’t accept the charges’

Another Australian, Melbourne academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, remains incarcerated in the same prison.

Dr Moore-Gilbert has reportedly been sentenced to 10 years in jail by Iranian authorities.

In a statement issued via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in September, her family thanked the Government and the University of Melbourne for their «ongoing support at this distressing and sensitive time».

Dr Moore-Gilbert is a Middle East expert at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, specialising in Arab Gulf states. She has also studied at Cambridge.

There are no details as to what she is accused of. She was arrested and convicted late last year.

«The Australian Government is continuing to seek her return to Australia and discussions with authorities in Iran are ongoing,» Senator Payne said.

«They are very long-term negotiations and they are ongoing.

«She has been detained some considerable time and has faced the Iranian legal system and been convicted and sentenced. We are continuing our discussions with the Iran government, we don’t accept the charges upon which she’s been convicted and we would seek to have her returned to Australia.

«The situation is very complex.»

The University of Melbourne said last month it had been in close contact with the Australian Government and Dr Moore-Gilbert’s family and would not be providing further comment about the «sensitive matter».

Topics:

prisons-and-punishment,

iran-islamic-republic-of,

australia

First posted

October 05, 2019 12:56:40

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