Australian couple and travel bloggers Mark Firkin and Jolie King are back in Australia after being released by Iran.
Australian Mark Firkin and British-Australian Jolie King were in the process of blogging their way from Australia to London when the pair was arrested after allegedly flying a drone near a military zone without a license.
They have now been released, with all charges against them dropped, after spending three months in Tehran’s Evin prison.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne told reporters: “The ordeal that they have been through is now over.
“They are being united with their loved ones, which is a source of great relief and joy to everyone.”
Minister Payne added both King and Firkin are in “good health” and “in good spirits”.
Following their release, the pair issued a statement on Saturday thanking the Australian government.
“We are extremely happy and relieved to be safely back in Australia with those we love.
“While the past few months have been very difficult, we know it has also been tough for those back home who have been worried for us.
“We are grateful for the efforts of the Australian government in helping secure our release, and we thank our family and friends for their love and support.”
Firkin and King were in the process of blogging their way through the adventure of a lifetime by driving from Australia to Britain, aiming to “break down the stigma around travelling to countries which get a bad rap in the media”.
Their adventure was cut short when the pair were arrested by security forces for allegedly launching a drone at a military area near Tehran known as Jajrood.
The couple are known for regularly using drone photography to document the beautiful, remote areas they travel through.
Drone use with a permit is allowed in Iran, but under strict conditions that include not flying over people or large crowds, over the city of Tehran or over sensitive areas. Flying a drone without a permit is punishable by six months in prison and immediate deportation.
Minister Payne reiterated Australia’s official travel advice for Iran, which advises travellers to “reconsider your need to travel” due to the risk that “foreigners, including Australians, could be arbitrarily detained or arrested”.
“Dual nationals are also at risk,” the advice reads. “We can’t guarantee access to consular services or legal representation if you’re detained or arrested.”
“It goes to show the importance of appreciating the circumstances, the laws, the conditions of the countries in which Australians travel and the importance to review those whenever you make the decision to travel,” Minister Payne said, as reported by The Guardian.
Featured image: Instagram/ thewayoverland