Two British-Australian women jailed in notorious Iranian prison

11 September 2019, 03:03

File photo: Issues including the seizure of a British tanker in the Gulf have heightened tensions
File photo: Issues including the seizure of a British tanker in the Gulf have heightened tensions. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Two British-Australian women have been jailed in Iran in the same prison as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, according to The Times.

One of the women, a blogger who was travelling through Asia with her Australian boyfriend, was arrested 10 weeks ago, allegedly for camping in a military area around Jajrood, in Tehran province.

The other woman, an academic who had been lecturing at an Australian university, has been handed a 10-year sentence.

While the charges against her also remain unclear, that length term is routinely given in Iran for spying charges.

The cases are not thought to be linked.

They are being held in the Evin jail, the notorious prison in the capital Tehran, where Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been held since 2016.

The 41-year-old British Iranian mother of one has been held on spying charges for three years, despite her husbands’ campaign for her release, which included a hunger strike.

The latest two cases are believed to be the first imprisonments in Iran of British passport holders who do not also have Iranian nationality.

The arrests come amid a downturn in relations between Britain and Iran, sparked by issues including the seizure by the Royal Marines in July of an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar.

The blogger and her boyfriend had been documenting their travels on YouTube and Instagram.

Concerns were raised by their online followers when they failed to add any news posts in the past several weeks.

The Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) confirmed on Wednesday it was lending consular assistance to the families of the three people, whose names have not been made public.