Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has reiterated his appeal for the government to do everything that they can to secure the release of Bernard Phelan
Mr Phelan is an Irish citizen who is currently serving a six and half year sentence in an Iranian prison on politically motivated, trumped-up charges.
Commenting amidst fears over the deteriorating health of Mr Phelan, Teachta Brady extended an appeal to Iranian authorities to release Bernard on humanitarian grounds.
The Wicklow TD said:
“Bernard Phelan was recently sentenced to six and half years on a series of fabricated charges by Iranian authorities.
“Bernard has both French and Irish citizenship, and he was travelling on his French passport at the time as it would have been quicker for him to secure a visa. This is a complicating factor as the Iranian’s do not recognise dual citizenship, and they have treated him as French.
“A number of European nationals, including several French, have been arrested and held over the last number of months on trumped-up espionage charges.
“They, along with Bernard, are effectively political hostages to be used as bargaining chips for political purposes.
“I am very concerned for Bernard’s health. Reports suggest that his condition continues to deteriorate, and he needs to be released immediately by Iranian authorities on humanitarian grounds.
“I have raised Bernard’s case with the Tánaiste on several occasions, in the Dáil, in Committee, and in person. I have also raised his imprisonment with senior management officials within the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“I also called on the Taoiseach last week in the Dáil to raise the issue of Bernard’s incarceration at the EU leaders Council last week.
“I have written directly to the Iranian Ambassador asking that he use his influence to help secure Bernard’s release.
“And while I understand that the Department of Foreign Affairs are working hard to do everything that they can for Bernard and his family, there is an urgent need for immediate action.
“Bernard needs the government to bring whatever influence or pressure that they can to bear on the Iranians to ensure the Bernard is released as soon as possible.”