By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
A vigil has been held outside the Iranian embassy in Dublin calling for the release of Tipperary man Bernard Phelan, whose family have raised concerns about his health and treatment.
The vigil for Mr Phelan, organised by his family and attended by his sister Caroline and 97-year-old father Vincent, was held to mark the 178 days he has spent in prison.
People who attended the protest outside the Iranian embassy held flowers, signs and the Women, Life Freedom sign of the feminist movement in Iran.
The 64-year-old dual Irish/French national is being detained in a prison in northeast Iran after his arrest in Mashhad in October 2022 while on a trip.
His family claim that he has been charged with “providing information to an enemy country”, which Mr Phelan denies.
Amnesty International has called for Mr Phelan’s immediate release and raised concerns about the prison sentence he received in February 2023.
The human rights group and Mr Phelan’s family have also raised concerns about his deteriorating health, with his relatives saying that he requires daily medication for a number of health conditions.
His family have said that his eyesight is also deteriorating, as he had an operation on both of his eyes prior to his trip to Iran and has not had any follow-up treatment.
Amnesty International has called on the Iranian authorities to grant him access to adequate healthcare, including all necessary medication and treatment.
His relatives have also stated he has been denied access to a lawyer of his own choosing since his arrest.
“The authorities must also ensure that he is provided with regular phone calls to his family, access to a lawyer of his own choosing, and unhindered regular consular assistance from the Irish and French,” Amnesty said in a statement on Thursday.
“He must also be provided with translations, including of key case documents, so that he is able to fully understand his rights.”