Son urges Australian-Iranian man's release

·2-min read

The family of an elderly Australian man detained in Iran fear he could die in prison and wants the federal government to do more to secure his release.

Shokrollah Jebeli is a dual Australian-Iranian citizenship who has been detained for more than 18 months on charges related to a financial dispute.

His son, Peyman Jebeli, is fighting to secure the 83-year-old's release on medical grounds.

"I have a serious concern that he could die in prison," he told ABC radio on Friday.

Mr Jebeli suffered a stroke in prison, couldn't walk and recently collapsed twice, at one point losing consciousness.

"He doesn't deserve to be treated inhumanly, he doesn't deserve to have his voice ignored," his son said.

While the man's family was previously advised by Australian authorities against going public, they have grown desperate.

"Concerns for his welfare are a lot higher now since his condition and health has deteriorated," Mr Jebeli said.

He explained the charges stemmed from a business deal involving an intelligence official, who was using his influence to manipulate the case.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Iran did not recognise dual nationalities and was refusing Australia's attempts to provide consular assistance.

"This is a very difficult case and I absolutely understand the distress Mr Jebeli's detention is causing to his family and certainly share their concerns particularly about his health," the senator said.

She said Australia was constantly pressing Iranian authorities for consular access and seeking to ensure Mr Jebeli received the medical care required.

Australian-British academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert said government officials should leverage unofficial channels to help secure Mr Jebeli's release.

"A lot of the time this stuff works informally and it's also extraordinarily corrupt," she said, adding media pressure could have an effect.

Dr Moore-Gilbert was imprisoned for two years in Iran on spying charges, which she always denied, before being returned to Australia late last year.

Coronavirus was rampant in Iran's prison systems and any medical treatment available was extremely limited.

"This is an act of desperation, going public, because the family isn't sure what else they can do," Dr Moore-Gilbert said.

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