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Australian travel bloggers released from Iranian prison

PERTH, Australia: World traveling couple, imprisoned for 10 years by Iran for using a drone around a military facility, have reached home after Iranian authoritarians dropped all charges against them.

Instagrammers Mark Firkin and Jolie King were jailed in Evin House of Detention after they were found using a drone around a military facility in Iran without a permit.

Drone use with a permit is allowed in Iran, but there are strict conditions that should be met including no flying zone near sensitive military installations or areas and over large crowds or people in general.

City of Tehran is off limits for drones too.

It is reported the backpackers first arrived in Iran on June 30, but a video they posted announcing they were there has since been removed.

The travel blogging couple was detained by authorities in July, as they pleaded ‘not guilty’ and cited ‘lack of law awareness’ as the reason behind accidental law breach.

Read more: Three Australians detained in Iran

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the couple are on their way home and are in “good health and in good spirits”.

“The ordeal they have been through is now over. They are being reunited with their loved ones, which is a source of great relief and joy to everyone,” FM Payne said on Saturday.

She added the government continues to seek the return of a third Australian, Melbourne University lecturer Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who is in detention since October 2018 over spying charges.

“We are continuing our discussions with the Iranian government, we don’t accept the charges upon which she was convicted and we will seek to have her returned to Australia,” she said.

She stressed on travel enthusiasts to consider travel advice given by the government for their own safety.

Australia’s official travel advice for Iran is currently set to “reconsider your need to travel”, with the highest warning level “do not travel” for some parts of the country.

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