The vital prognosis of Bernard Phelan, a Franco-Irish detained since October in an Iranian prison, is engaged, his sister Caroline Massé-Phelan said in a statement on Tuesday March 7, asking for “his immediate release for humanitarian reasons”. “Bernard’s health is becoming very worrying and his vital prognosis is engaged”, writes his sister Caroline Massé-Phelan, mentioning “his heart problems and his sight” which “are deteriorating in difficult detention conditions”, and “his condition psychic (who) sinks day by day into depression”.

Bernard Phelan, 64, was arrested in October while on the road and convicted of “providing information to an enemy country”, a charge he denies. He is being held in a cell in Mashhad, in the northeast of the country. So far, repeated requests from the French Foreign Ministry to release him have gone unheeded. Bernard Phelan had started a hunger and thirst strike in early January, before suspending it at the request of his family worried about a fatal outcome in the face of inflexible Iranian authorities.

“At a first hearing on February 20, the judge sentenced him to three and a half years in prison but said he would be granted a pardon by the court on humanitarian grounds due to his age and poor condition. health,” her sister points out. “On February 26, Bernard was again presented in court, with 20 minutes notice and without his own lawyer but still a lawyer for the regime. He was told he would not be pardoned and his sentence had been increased to 6.5 years. No documents of the court proceedings have been released,” she reports.