British-Australian women 'imprisoned by Iran in same notorious jail as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe'
Canberra warns citizens against travel to region over ‘arbitrary detention’ risk
A British-Australian blogger and her Australian boyfriend were arrested 10 weeks ago while travelling through Asia, The Times reported, allegedly for camping in a military area.
Separately, another British-Australian woman, who works as an academic at an Australian university, was detained several months ago and sentenced to 10 years in prison for alleged espionage. According to ABC, she has been imprisoned for nearly a year.
The two women are reportedly locked up in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where 41-year-old Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian mother of one, has been held on spying charges since 2016.
Australia’s foreign ministry confirmed it was helping the families of the three people, whose names have not been released.
The ministry warned citizens against travelling to Iran because “there is a risk that foreigners, including Australians, could be arbitrarily detained”.
Relations between the UK and Iran have deteriorated in recent months over tit-for-tat detentions of tanker ships.
In July, royal marines sequestered the Iranian tanker Grace 1 after suspicions it was breaking the terms of sanctions by taking oil to Syria.
Gibraltar released the vessel – renamed Adrian Darya 1 – on 15 August after Iran promised it would not disgorge its cargo in Syria, a pledge it quickly broke.
Two weeks after the ship’s initial detention, Iran seized the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz.
Both Australia and the UK are members of a US-led effort to protect shipping in key waterways by deploying warships to sail alongside cargo vessels.
Meanwhile, London and Tehran have been wrangling for years over the fate of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe. The Foreign Office and her family insist she was working for a charity and not spying.
Boris Johnson, while foreign secretary, erroneously claimed she had been teaching journalists in the region.
Additional reporting by agencies