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Irishman Bernard Phelan remains locked up in Iran as thousands of prisoners pardoned

The Tipperary native was arrested in October while travelling and has been accused of anti-government propaganda

Bernard Phelan has been detained in Iran since October last year.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Imprisoned Irishman Bernard Phelan (64) remains locked up in Iran despite the release of “tens of thousands” other prisoners.

The Tipperary native was arrested in October while travelling and is currently being held in Mashhad accused of anti-government propaganda.

He has denied the charge.

Iranian state media reported that “tens of thousands” of prisoners – including some arrested in recent anti-government protests – have been pardoned by the supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

Mr Phelan’s family revealed to RTÉ yesterday that the Clonmel man is not among them.

The pardon came with a number of conditions, including that it would not include dual national citizens, those accused of “corruption on earth,” “spying for foreign agencies” or those “affiliated with groups hostile to the Islamic Republic”, IRNA reports.

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    Mr Phelan holds Irish and French citizenship, with both Irish and French officials working closely together to secure his release.

    In a statement to RTÉ yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affiars said that it remained "very concerned" about Mr Phelan and continues to "provide consular assistance, in close coordination with France".

    Though not commenting directly on the latest developments, the Department said Mr Phelan’s release has been raised repeatedly with Iranian authorities, including by the Tánaiste.

    The Paris-based travel consultant has a heart condition and a chronic bone issue and suspended a hunger strike two weeks ago.

    The statement said that "the need for his urgent release on humanitarian grounds" has been stressed to Iranian officials.

    About 20,000 people have been arrested in connection with protests that began following the death of a young Iranian Kurdish woman last September, activist news agency HRNA says.

    Mahsa Amini died in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

    Human rights groups believe over 500 people have been killed as part of a State crackdown.

    The Iranian judiciary claims at least four have been hanged.

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