An Australian couple, identified as Jolie King and Mark Firkin, is being held in Iran’s Evin prison. They are widely known for their travel adventure to drive from Australia to London and have been posting videos since 2017 in their white Toyota Land Cruiser, documenting their experiences. At the end of June, their posts suddenly stopped.
Questions remain unanswered regarding the details of their arrests but the New York Times reports that officials confirmed that King and Firkin were among three Australian citizens detained in Tehran for the last 10 weeks.
Local reports in Iran suggests that King and Firkin were arrested for flying a drone without a permit.
The third detainee, unrelated to the couple’s case, is reportedly in solitary confinement. The Cambridge-educated academic was lecturing at an Australian university before she was arrested last year. The Guardian reports that she has been tried for unknown charges he charges and sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Iranian officials remain silent and have not given any indication on the arrests but the recent news comes amid growing tensions with Tehran and the West.
When Iranian leaders reportedly detained tankers in the Persian Gulf, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison committed to a US-led mission to patrol the Strait of Hormuz where a fifth of the world’s oil passes, as reported in the Guardian.
“The government has decided it’s in Australia’s national interests to work with our international partners to contribute to an international maritime security mission … in the Middle East,” Morrison stated.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs told CNN that it was providing consular assistance to the families of all three Australians detained in Iran.
Meanwhile, a travel advisory from Australian leaders warns that travelers to Iran should “reconsider your need to travel,” due to “the risk that foreigners, including Australians, could be arbitrarily detained or arrested.”