The father of jailed blogger Jolie King says he is ‘hoping for her safe return soon’ after she was thrown into a notorious Iranian prison.
Mike King, who lives in Sydney, spoke out after it was revealed that Jolie and her partner Mike Firkin were arrested in early July after flying a drone near Tehran as they blogged about a round-the-world road trip they have been on for the past two years.
A post on Mr King’s Facebook profile from April this year reveals he had expressed concerns for her safety as she travelled through Pakistan towards China.
Mike King, the father of jailed blogger Jolie, posted this image of her on Facebook back in April along with this message, saying he was concerned for her safety as she travelled through Pakistan. She was arrested in Iran 11 weeks later
Writing alongside an image of his daughter, Mr King said: ‘Joely has been traveling through Pakistan for the last week or so.
‘I was pretty worried due to what we all hear on the news and with Afghanistan right next door.
‘When I checked up on her, this was her reply: “Yep all good here! We’re currently in Passu and crossing over to China on Monday at the Khunjerab Pass which has the worlds highest [elevation] atm! Pakistan has been my favourite country so far, it’s been seriously amazing!”’
The post was penned on April 15, around 11 weeks before Jolie and Mark are thought to have been arrested near the Iranian capital.
It appears they crossed from northern Pakistan into China before going to Kyrgyzstan, where their final social media posts were uploaded on June 26.
After that their feed, which until then had been posting near-weekly updates on their travels, went silent as their 19,000 followers asked for news of their whereabouts.
It was first reported on Wednesday that the pair had been thrown in jail in Iran.
Speaking on Friday, after news of his daughter’s arrest was made public, Mr King said he is ‘hoping for her safe return soon’
Jolie had been taking part in a round-the-world road trip with boyfriend Mark Firkin since 2017 which the pair had been blogging about online when they were arrested near Tehran, reportedly for flying a drone without a licence
It is thought Miss King is being held in notorious Evin prison, which is used for political prisoners, alongside another British-Australian who is serving a ten-year sentence for espionage.
Her identity is being withheld by Mail Online.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman jailed for spying, is also being kept at the same jail.
Speaking via her husband Richard, who has been campaigning for her release, she said Miss King had appeared ‘sacred, disoriented and intimidated’ following weeks of questioning in solitary confinement.
However, on Friday Richard said she is ‘upbeat’ since she was given some new clothes, having spent weeks wearing the ones she was arrested in.
The whereabouts of Mr Firkin since his arrest have not been made clear.
Miss King and Mr Firkin’s arrest was confirmed by their families, which said it was the result of a ‘misunderstanding’ and that the pair did not realise they needed a permit to fly a drone.
A joint statement by their relatives said: ‘Our families hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible. We have no further comment to make at this stage.’
The arrest of the trio comes at a low-point in relations between Iran and the West, as experts say the prisoners will likely be used as bargaining chips by Tehran.
It is thought the regime may use the captives to try and negotiate for the release of Iranian Negar Ghodskani, 40, who was arrested in Australia in 2017 and is now facing five years in jail in the US for smuggling prohibited technology to her home country.
Iran previously demanded her release in return for the freedom of Miss Zaghari-Ratcliffe but Britain refused the deal.
The couple had been posting near-weekly updates on their travels since giving up their 9-5 lives in Perth, Australia, for a life of adventure on the road
The pair’s final posts were uploaded from Kyrgyzstan on June 26 when their social media feeds suddenly went quiet, leaving worried fans asking for news of their whereabouts
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she met last week with her Iranian counterpart, seeking to secure release of three citizens held by Tehran.
While the detentions were confirmed in recent days, Payne said late on Thursday the Australian government had been working on securing the release of the three for more than a week.
Payne said she travelled to Bangladesh last week to meet Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss the detention of the three people.
Payne declined to reveal specific details of the talks.
‘The government has been making efforts to ensure they are treated fairly, humanely and in accordance with international norms,’ Payne told the Australian senate.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Wednesday raised concerns with the Iranian ambassador to Britain over the number of dual-nationality citizens detained in Iran and the conditions in which they were being held.