News National Student reportedly back in Iran as imprisoned Australian bloggers return home

Student reportedly back in Iran as imprisoned Australian bloggers return home

Australian travel bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin were detained in Iran. Photo: Instagram/The Way Overland
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

University of Queensland research student Reza Dehbashi Kivi will not be extradited to the United States, according to Attorney-General Christian Porter.

Mr Dehbashi Kivi, 38, who was detained for 13 months in Australia over purchasing a defence system for his country from the United States, has returned home, Iran’s state TV reports.

In a possible swap, an Australian blogger and her fiance returned home Saturday after being freed from a three-month detention in Iran.

The Australian couple, Jolie King and Mark Firkin, returned to Australia after all charges against them were dropped.

“We are extremely happy and relieved to be safely back in Australia with those we love,” the Australian couple said in a statement. “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.”

They thanked the Australian government for helping secure their release.

But Mr Porter did not say the two cases were linked.

“The Australian Government does not comment on the details behind its consideration of particular cases,” he said in a statement.

“And while it is likely that because of Mr Dehbashi Kivi’s nationality some will speculate regarding this matter, consistent with prior practice I do not intend to comment further on the particular details of this case, particularly when any such response from me may diminish our Government’s capacity to deal with future matters of this type in Australia’s best interests.”

There was no immediate acknowledgment on Saturday by Iranian officials or in the country’s state media of the couple’s release. 

Mr Dehbashi Kivi was arrested in Brisbane and taken into custody in September last year, while he was living in Redbank Plains.

He failed in an effort to be released on bail as US officials sought to extradite him on six charges, including conspiring to export special amplifiers classified as “defence articles” under the US munitions list.

The US Government had alleged the amplifiers were bought from American companies.

Another charge accused him of “aiding and abetting in the exportation of defence articles from the United States to Iran”.

Mr Dehbashi Kivi faced a maximum of 20 years in prison for the alleged offences, which dated back to 2008, when he was living in Iran.

Bloggers request privacy

Ms King and Mr Firkin spent almost three months in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison after they were arrested for flying a drone near a military zone without a license.

Before their arrest, they had been globe-trotting for two years and documenting their travels on Instagram and YouTube. 

iran australia
Dr Moore-Gilbert remains imprisoned in Iran. Photo: Twitter

They requested privacy as they seek to “get back to (their) normal lives”.

“We know there are others who remain in detention in Iran, including a fellow Australian, and believe intense media coverage may not be helpful for efforts to bring them home,” they said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the government continued to seek the return of a third Australian, Melbourne University lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who has been in detention since October 2018.

Ms Payne described her situation as “very complex.”

“She has been detained for some considerable time, and has faced the Iranian legal system and has been convicted and sentenced,” Ms Payne said, adding the government did not accept the spying charges against her.

-with AAP

View Comments