Jan. 13 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed this Friday that the authorities are working closely with France for the release of Bernard Phelan, a Franco-Irish citizen who was arrested and imprisoned last October in Iran.
“Foreign Affairs is aware of the case and has been providing consular assistance in close coordination with France from the beginning,” a spokesman for the Ministry has specified, as reported by the Irish chain RTE.
Phelan, who has dual citizenship, is in an Iranian prison on charges of propaganda against Tehran. The 64-year-old man works for an Iranian tourism company. At the time of his arrest in the north-eastern Iranian city of Mashhad, he was carrying a French passport.
Phelan, who denies the charges against him, was arrested for allegedly taking photographs — which he later reportedly sent to The Guardian newspaper — of security forces after a mosque in the area burned down. He was held in solitary confinement for two weeks, after which he was sent to Vakilabad prison in Mashhad.
As reported by his sister, Caroline Massé-Phelan, he began a hunger strike on January 1 in protest of his case. The family has alerted in recent weeks that her state of health has worsened considerably and that she could have a heart condition, the newspaper ‘The Irish Times’ reported.