Families of Australian travel bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin detained in Iran say they hope for safe return


Updated

September 12, 2019 13:27:09

Two Australian travel bloggers detained in Iran have been named as Perth couple Mark Firkin and Jolie King.

Key points:

  • Mark Firkin and Jolie King have been travelling around the world since 2017
  • The pair have been held as prisoners for about 10 weeks after being arrested for reportedly flying a drone
  • Their families said they hoped the duo would make it home safely as soon as possible

The pair has been held as prisoners for about 10 weeks after being arrested for reportedly flying a drone without a permit.

They have been travelling around the world since 2017 and documenting their adventures online.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has released a statement from the pair’s loved ones.

“Our families hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible. We have no further comment to make at this stage.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Federal Government was treating the issue carefully and was in close consultation with officials.

He said public commentary would be unhelpful.

“These are always very sensitive cases and they are never issues that are addressed well by offering public commentary on them,” Mr Morrison said.

“I note that in at least one of these cases it’s the view being expressed by family members.

“So we will continue to pursue these matters in the interest of the Australians who are at the centre of these cases and we will do that carefully and we’ll do that in close consultation through our officials who have been part of this process now.”

Ms King is a dual Australian-British citizen and the UK Government has demanded the couple’s release.

The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called in the Iranian ambassador overnight.

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”.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The message to Iran is to follow the international rule of law … and to release people that have been detained.”

Online followers 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.”

Another Australian-British dual citizen, a Melbourne-based academic, is also being held by Iran and has reportedly been sentenced to 10 years in jail.

The Cambridge University-educated scholar is being held in solitary confinement, although it is unclear what charges she faced.

The ABC has chosen not to name the academic at this time.

All three Australians are held at the notorious Evin jail, north of Tehran, which is used to house political prisoners.

Another British woman being held in solitary confinement at Evin prison is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told the ABC the conditions inside the facility were horrific.

“I know that the girl is now in with Nazanin, [she] came through scared and disoriented and obviously had been quite intimidated by being interrogated for all that time in solitary [confinement],” he said.

“Nazanin was kept in a room without any windows — so no natural light — it was a lightbulb kept on the whole time.

“[She was] taken out for interrogations blindfolded.”

Topics:

law-crime-and-justice,

crime,

iran-islamic-republic-of,

perth-6000,

wa,

australia

First posted

September 12, 2019 09:57:49



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