An Australian couple on an epic journey from Australia to the UK have been detained in Iran for using a drone without a permit. The couple, travel vloggers, documenting and sharing their journey details were arrested near Tehran, and are currently detained in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. The couple have been identified as Ms. Jolie King and Mr. Mark Firkin. Mr. Firkin is an Australian national and Ms. King holds an Australian and a British passport.
Leaving Perth in July 2017 in a Toyota LandCruiser, the couple were planning to travel for two years driving across 36 countries. After reportedly making their way to Iran, they were detained when using a drone to to capture footage for their videos – when asked to show papers they were unable to, therefore detained and await a trial. The pair has been held as prisoners for about 10 weeks and are housed in Evin prison – a jail which primarily houses Iran’s political prisoners.
“Our families hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible,” their families said in a statement today, issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“We have no further comment to make at this stage and ask that the media respects our privacy at this difficult time.”
Mr. Firkin and Ms. King, travel enthusiasts, embarked upon this epic road trip in 2017. They both quit their jobs in 2016 and planned their 2 year long travel.”We hope to inspire others to pursue their dreams and perhaps wander down the road less travelled!”, they have said in their Patreon profile.
A Deakin University Professor of Middle East politics who maintains that ‘dealing with Iran is so arbitrary and unpredictable’ has said the couple were naive to fly drones. He said the pair were taking footage at secluded sites, which was considered highly suspicious in Iran.
The Australian government is working towards their release. 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.