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Fitzgerald calls for the immediate release of Irishman Bernard Phelan

Press Statement Frances Fitzgerald MEP

Sunday 2nd April 2023

Fitzgerald calls for the immediate release of Irishman Bernard Phelan

Irish man held in captivity in Iran in terrible conditions and on spurious charges

MEP for Dublin, Frances Fitzgerald, has called for the immediate release of Irishman, Bernard Phelan, on humanitarian grounds. Bernard has been held hostage in an Iranian prison for nearly six months. During this time Bernard has not received any kind of due process or natural justice and is being held on spurious charges. Furthermore, Bernard’s health is failing due to the incredibly challenging conditions he has had to endure.

Mr. Phelan was recently sentenced to 6.5 years in prison in Iran for ‘providing information to an enemy country’, a charge he denies.

Speaking in Dublin, MEP Fitzgerald said, “I am calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately release Bernard so that he can return home to his family. Bernard is being held captive by the Iranian regime and has been denied his basic human rights of access to a fair trial and medical treatment since his arrest".

The 64-year-old, with dual French and Irish nationality, has a number of health issues including a heart condition and a chronic bone issue. His prison conditions are dreadful: no windows, no chairs or table, freezing conditions, poor food and clothing.

“The denial of rights in this case involving an EU citizen should not be allowed to stand. The EU institutions and the Irish Government must redouble efforts to ensure his immediate and unconditional release".

“I support the efforts of the Irish government in making representations to the Iranian authorities on this issue, but Mr. Phelan’s case should be treated as matter of high urgency by both the Irish government and the European Union. That is why, this week, I have written to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, asking for the EU to intervene and assist in securing Mr. Phelan’s release”.


Contact: Conor Glynn



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