Concern grows over French-Irish citizen held in Iran
A French-Irish citizen held in Iran since October 2022 and now on a dry starvation strike to protest his detention will survive no various days except he’s freed, his sister mentioned on Wednesday.
Bernard Phelan, a Paris-based journey advisor and certainly one of seven French nationals held by Iran, was arrested in October whereas travelling and is being held in Mashhad in northeastern Iran.
The 64-year-old’s household has mentioned he began a dry starvation strike on Monday, refusing water, along with the meals starvation strike he had been on because the begin of the yr.
His sister Caroline Masse-Phelan advised AFP on Wednesday that her brother was an harmless man detained for causes “past our comprehension”.
She mentioned his well being situation meant he needed to be launched urgently.
“It is a matter of days,” she mentioned. “He is an harmless man caught in the midst of I do not know what. He loves Iran, he’s 64, sick, and desires to go residence.”
“He’s exhibiting critical indicators of bodily and psychological exhaustion,” mentioned a French diplomatic supply, including he was in a “crucial state”.
– Prisoner’s ‘solely weapons’ –
The Iranian authorities have up to now refused to launch Phelan on medical grounds regardless of repeated requests from the French and Irish authorities, the supply mentioned.
“I believe he’s a part of a gaggle of Europeans imprisoned for political causes… of which I do know nothing,” his sister added.
“We’ve got nothing to do with this story.”
Phelan is certainly one of two dozen foreigners at the moment held in Iran, in line with activists, who describe the detainees as “hostages” seized to extract concessions from the West.
Phelan was travelling via Mashhad in the course of the ongoing protests towards Iran’s clerical regime when he was arrested.
He’s being held in Vakilabad jail in Mashhad. His sister mentioned he suffers from a coronary heart situation that requires medical therapy.
The starvation and thirst strikes are placing his life at risk however “he’s doing this as a result of he cannot take it anymore,” she mentioned.
“These are the one weapons,” she added, saying that it was on his urging that she had moved to make the case public.
– ‘Demand fundamental rights’ –
Fellow French nationwide Benjamin Briere, who was sentenced final yr to eight years in jail on spying fees, is being held in the identical jail.
“Bernard Phelan is in touch twice a day with the disaster unit of the French overseas ministry, which passes on the messages from his household,” the supply mentioned.
However requests for direct communication with the household have been turned down by the Iranian authorities.
Phelan acquired his first French consular go to solely on January 9, after repeated requests, the diplomatic supply added.
Activists worry that the present downgrading of contact between Western governments and Iran over the protest crackdown has lessened the prospect of the overseas detainees being launched quickly.
US citizen Siamak Namazi, who’s of Iranian descent and was arrested in October 2015, this week began a seven-day starvation strike as he implored President Joe Biden to place better precedence on his case.
“At present the entire world is witnessing how atrociously this regime can reply to those that dare demand their fundamental rights,” Namazi mentioned.
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