Australian Travel Influencers Held in Iranian Prison After Using a Drone to Film for Their Blog
The couple have been in custody for about 10 weeks
An Australian couple traveling in Iran has been arrested all for trying to capture footage for their blog.
Jolie King and Mark Firkin, who are also British passport-holders, have spent the last 10 weeks in Evin prison in Tehran after they were caught flying a drone without a license, 9 News and The Guardian reported.
The travel influencers reportedly uploaded over 60 videos, which were taken at secluded sites, Deakin University professor of Middle East politics Shahram Akbarzadeh told 9 News. Flying a drone in those areas is considered “highly suspicious,” in Iran, Akbarzadeh said.
“Iran authorities see a threat in every corner,” Akbarzadeh told 9 News.
King and Firkin were reportedly camping in a military area around Jajrood, according to The Guardian.
Their most recent video was shot in Pakistan. The couple has over 20,000 YouTube subscribers and over 19,000 followers on Instagram.
King has also shared vivid memories from her many trips to her personal Instagram account, which include shots of her snorkeling in the deep blue waters of Bali, sightseeing in India and most recently horseback riding in Kyrgyzstan.
Her last post was uploaded on June 26.
After weeks of silence, King’s followers grew worried about her whereabouts.
“I hope you guys are okay,” one follower wrote.
“GUYS WHERE ARE YOU ITS BEEN A MONTH — R U OKAY???” a different follower wrote on their joint account.
News of their arrest was made public on Wednesday.
The families of the couple have since released a statement via The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs saying, “Our families hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible,” ABC Australia reported.
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The Australian government is currently negotiating the couple’s release, The Guardian reported.
An attorney for the couple could not immediately be found. It is not immediately clear if their case will go to trial or what charges are being brought against them.
According to their blog, King and Firkin have been dating for six years and moved together to Perth in 2015. They began traveling around the world in 2017.
The couple explained that after exploring Iran they had planned to travel to Turkey.