Photo: The Way Overland/Facebook

Australian Couple Lands in Iranian Prison After Using Drone

Iran Travel Safety News
by Elisabeth Sherman Sep 12, 2019

Two years ago, Jolie King and Mark Firkin embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. They dropped the daily grind, hopped in their Toyota truck, and began driving across continents. Since 2017, they documented their daily lives on The Way Overland — eating breakfast and camping in the truck, and hiking, surfing, and swimming in remote locations from Bali to Pakistan. Then, as The New York Times reported, in June of this year, their social media channels suddenly went dead.

Today, authorities have confirmed that the couple is being held in Evin Prison in Iran. They’ve been there for at least 10 weeks, and a fellow prisoner revealed that King, who has dual citizenship with Australia and Britain, has been in solitary confinement for much of that time. A third person, an academic also of Australian-British citizenship, is also being held at Evin.

Iranian authorities have not been forthcoming about why the couple were arrested, but one journalist in the country has reported that they were flying a drone in Tehran without a permit.

In a statement, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs vowed that it is working to secure the release of all three of its citizens currently being detained by Iran. Australia does warn its citizens to limit travel to Iran, citing concerns that they might be arrested for “attracting attention,” according to The New York Times.

The arrests coincide with a tense moment in relations between Iran and much of the West.

There’s still no word on when or if the couple will be released. King and Firkin originally hoped to arrive in the United Kingdom by Christmas.

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