Perth couple detained in Iran

Picture: Jolie King/Instagram
Picture: Jolie King/Instagram

NEWS of three Australians being detained in Iran, including two Perth residents, was confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday.

The three Australians detained in Iran are reportedly being held in a notorious prison in the capital of Tehran and consular assistance is being provided to their families.

Perth residents Mark Firkin and Jolie King have been named as the Australian couple detained in Iran.

The couple, who have been travelling the world for more than two years, was arrested in Iran about 10 weeks ago for flying a drone without a licence.

Jolie King and Mark Firkin in India. Picture: Instagram

They had been documenting their travels on YouTube and Instagram, but concerns were raised when they failed to add any new posts for several weeks.

Their families have released a statement saying they hope to see them as soon as possible.

“We have no further comment to make at this stage and ask that the media respects our privacy at this difficult time,” they told AAP on Thursday.

The other woman detained in Iran, an academic who had been lecturing at an Australian university, has been given a 10-year sentence.

The charges against all the three Australians remain unclear but 10-year terms are routinely given in Iran for spying charges, the Times reported.

“Due to our privacy obligations, we will not comment further,” a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told AAP on Wednesday.

“All Australian citizens and holders of dual nationality with Australia who are travelling to or through Iran are urged to follow the travel advice on the DFAT Smart Traveller website,” the department said.

Drone use with a permit is allowed in Iran, but there are strict conditions.

People must not fly drones over people or large crowds, over the city of Tehran, or over sensitive areas.

Flying a drone without a permit in Iran is punishable by six months in prison followed by immediate deportation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would continue to carefully pursue the “very sensitive” cases.

“They’re never issues that are addressed well by offering public commentary on them,” he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

“I note that in at least one of these cases, that’s a view that has been expressed by family members.”

He said Department of Foreign Affairs officials had been involved in the cases for “some time” and their work would continue.

Picture: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The three Australians are incarcerated in the Evin jail in Tehran, where Iran holds its political prisoners and has a reputation for being the scene of various human rights abuses, including summary executions.

The department’s travel advice is currently set to “reconsider your need to travel” and the highest warning level of “do not travel” applies in some parts of the country.

There is a risk that foreigners, including Australians, could be arbitrarily detained or arrested.

The advice states Australians may be at greater risk if they have a profile that can be seen adversely by Iran, or undertake activities which could attract the attention of its authorities.