Iranwire – The health of a French-Irish national imprisoned in Iran for more than four months is “getting worse,” with his eyesight starting to fail, his sister says.
Bernard Phélan “can’t see clearly anymore,” after cornea surgery last year, Caroline Masse-Phélan said in a written statement to AFP news agency on February 7.
Phélan, who suspended a dry hunger strike in December, fell last week when his left knee buckled as he got up from bed, his sister said.
“He is suffering,” she said, adding that he was not given walking sticks or crutches.
In January, the French Foreign Ministry accused the Iranian authorities of denying the 64-year-old prisoner urgent medical care.
Phélan, a Paris-based travel consultant, was arrested in October while travelling and is being held in the Vakilabad prison in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
He is accused of anti-government propaganda, a charge he denies.
Frenchman Benjamin Brière, also held in Vakilabad prison, has gone on hunger strike for the second time since his incarceration in May 2020, his sister and his lawyer said earlier this week.
Brière was sentenced to eight years in jail for espionage.
Phélan and Brière are among seven French citizens and more than two dozen foreign nationals believed to be behind bars in Iran.
Western governments have repeatedly accused the Islamic Republic of taking dual and foreign nationals hostage for the sole purpose of using them in prisoner swaps.
Many European countries have urged their nationals to leave Iran, warning that they face the risk of arbitrary arrest or unfair trial.
The Islamic Republic has claimed that the anti-government demonstrations that have swept the country for more than four months are instigated by its foreign foes. Officials did not provide any evidence backing the allegation.