THE British vlogger arrested in Iran for flying a drone vowed to visit countries with a “bad rap” to show they were not dangerous.
Building designer Jolie King and her construction manager boyfriend Mark Firkin quit the “9-5 grind” in Perth, Australia, to drive across the world.
The building designer was driving across the world while vowing to visit ‘dangerous’ countries to remove the stigma from them[/caption]
Jolie posted glamorous pictures on social media to document her adventures[/caption]
But their dream trip turned into a nightmare when they were detained near Iranian capital Tehran for allegedly flying a drone without a license.
Jolie is now being held in the notorious Evin jail described as a “black hole of evil” amid claims of torture and brutality from the guards.
The pair, who fell in love in 2015, were mid-way through an epic drive from Australia to the UK where the Brit vlogger’s dad Mike King was born and raised in Essex.
They set off in 2017 and had been documenting her travels around the world on social media and raising money on crowdfunding site Patreon.
And before their arrest in Iran, who has been a paranoid pariah state for the last 40 years, Jolie and Mike appeared to be enjoying their adventures.
Living out of their Toyota Land Cruiser, they had visited exotic South East Asian islands such as Timor, Flores and Sumbawa.
They also ventured to Malaysia, India and finally Pakistan before heading towards the Islamic Republic of Iran – which executes more people per capita than any other country in the world.
The couple quit their jobs and decided to travel the world together[/caption]
In blog posts, the pair said wanted to quit the “9-5 grind” and travel the world while visiting supposedly dangerous countries.
The couple wrote online: “Our biggest motivation behind the vlogs is to hopefully inspire anyone wanting to travel.
“And also try to break the stigma around travelling to countries which get a bad rap in the media.”
Their blog and YouTube channel, which has over 22,000 subscribers, are both called The Way Overland.
The couple posted a video on June 30 on their first day in Iran.
But pals raised concerns when they stopped hearing updates from Jolie and Mark a few weeks ago.
Jolie said: “We just arrived. It’s actually really beautiful.”
Iranian authorities told Jolie she was being held in the hope of a prisoner swap, according to The Times, although it has not been confirmed which Iranian prisoner would be involved in such a deal.
However, The Australian reports that Negar Ghodskani, 40, who is facing jail in the US, is the woman Tehran want to exchange with the Brit blogger.
DREAM TURNED TO NIGHTMARE
In August, Iranian national Ghodskani pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade US sanctions and “illegally export controlled technology”.
Jolie is locked up in the same wing as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 41-year-old British-Iranian mum-of one, held at the jail since 2016 on spying charges.
It is claimed they are being used as additional collateral after a proposed swap for Ghodskani and Zaghari-Ratcliffe failed.
A second unnamed British-Australian woman was also arrested in a separate incident.
The woman, an academic, is said to be held in solitary confinement and been sentenced to ten years in jail for an unknown offence, a source told The Times.
It is believed Jolie is the first UK citizen without Iranian passports to be jailed in Iran in recent years.
Prisoners say cells in the prison are filthy, overcrowded and infested with beetles, comparing it to torture chamber.
The Australian government is taking the lead in both cases, with Britain urged to act.
Boris Johnson is set to confront Iran about the arrested Brits at a UN meeting in New York this month.
In a letter to families of three Brits held in Iran, seen by The Times, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We will not accept Iran using our citizens as diplomatic leverage.”
Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, said: “The message to Iran is to follow the international rule of law, and to release people that have been detained in the way they have been over the last couple of years.”
It comes amid escalating tensions between Britain and Iran, as Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, claimed a tanker seized in Gibraltar has now delivered its oil to Syria.
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Mr Raab said that the Adrian Darya-1’s oil was transferred in breach of EU sanctions.
The 15,000-tonne ship was seized by a team of Royal Marines as it passed through the British territory’s waters on July 4 for trying to bust European sanctions and take oil to Syria.
Iran is preparing to release a British tanker that was seized in retaliation.
The Stena Impero was boarded in the Strait of Hormuz.
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