‘He told me I’d die in prison’ - Bernard Phelan on his captivity and the joy of liberation

Lara Marlow spoke to the Irish man recently released from an Iranian jail

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Bernard Phelan: 'He told me I'd die in prison'

Weeks from his release from jail in Iran, Tipperary-born Bernard Phelan sat down with Lara Marlowe to talk about his arrest last October in the Iranian city of Mashhad, his seven months in jail and the drama of his release.

A travel consultant with duel French and Irish citizenship, the 64 year-old had arrived in the country at a turbulent time. Protesters were taking to the streets over the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest for allegedly not wearing the hijab correctly.

Phelan, who had been sightseeing with a colleague, was questioned for more than two hours, photographed and fingerprinted. He was then charged with taking photographs of police officers and a mosque and accused of providing information to an enemy country – charges he denied.

He would go on to spend seven months in jail. Back home, his family, as well as the Irish and French governments campaigned for his release. He was finally released this month, and he’s back in Paris where he lives with his French husband, Roland Bonello. Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Declan Conlon.

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast