Travel bloggers face ten years of prison in Iran for flying a drone without a permit

Sep 13, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Travel bloggers face ten years of prison in Iran for flying a drone without a permit

Sep 13, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Travel bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin, known on Instagram as T.W.O. – The Way Overland, have been arrested in Iran for flying a drone without a permit. They were detained in July after they were caught operating the drone near Tehran, and they are now facing up to ten years in prison.

Jolie and Mark are a couple who quit their nine-to-five jobs in order to travel the world together. They started the journey in their native Australia and planned to end it in London. They frequently shared their adventures with followers on Instagram, and although they were living a dream, it appears that it has turned into a nightmare.

The couple’s families said that the whole situation is a “misunderstanding” and that they were reportedly “unaware of the strict drone laws employed by the country.” Daily Mail reports that Iranian authorities had informed Jolie that she was being detained in hope of a prisoner swap.

It’s sad to think that all of this could have been avoided by just googling “drone laws in Iran” and a couple of clicks. But of course, I honestly hope that the couple will be released and that they won’t spend a decade in prison simply for being uninformed.

[via FStoppers]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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33 responses to “Travel bloggers face ten years of prison in Iran for flying a drone without a permit”

  1. Mario Dennis Avatar
    Mario Dennis

    Sorry to see this, but offhand I can’t think of a country less likely to welcome foreign drones.

    1. Eric Ogden Avatar
      Eric Ogden

      Mario Dennis they went there thinking that they were going to prove that the country wasn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

    2. Duncan Dimanche Avatar
      Duncan Dimanche

      Eric Ogden it’s gonna tough to argue their case now… haha fuck the irony

    3. damn.eu Avatar
      damn.eu

      If you feel the need to do this sort of thing, you need to come to London. The police will help you to block roads, close airports, keep shops closed, break windows in office districts, and be generally really annoying.

      Indeed we have some splendid examples just today.

    4. Cambria McCue Avatar
      Cambria McCue

      The amount of red tape that we were going to have to go through in Rwanda/Uganda/South Africa was ridiculous, but was laid out very simply through a Google search and a few clicks. If their own country (Australia) has strict laws on drones, why would they think other countries would be any different. I don’t think they deserve 10yrs, but there does need to be some sort of punishment.

  2. Adrian Gordon Avatar
    Adrian Gordon

    “I was unaware of the law” isn’t an excuse

    1. Helena Clare Macdonald Avatar
      Helena Clare Macdonald

      Adrian Gordon why on earth would anyone think flying a drone in IRAN would be a good idea?!!!

    2. Peter Withe Avatar
      Peter Withe

      Before marriage and children I travelled a lot (mid-late 90’s) and always double checked what I could and couldn’t photograph in countries that might be a little sensitive i.e. when I was in Banja Luka. It’s not just the police military stuff you need to be aware of, but also the cultural things. And being a westerner can make you an easy target for a bit of posturing by the local plod.

  3. Youenn Thms Avatar
    Youenn Thms

    See you in 10yrs !

  4. Sergi Yavorski Avatar
    Sergi Yavorski

    One would think travelers be smart enough to familiarize themselves with local laws, especially going to the third world shitholes like Iran.?‍♂️

    1. Salim Waguila Avatar
      Salim Waguila

      Have u ever visited Iran… U r such an ignorant mf. Maybe Iran is the most beautiful country in the world. And I am not even from Iran and never been there but I.have seen pics that are stunning of the country

      1. Nestor de la Zerda Avatar
        Nestor de la Zerda

        Even if your comment praises Iran it is also ignorant because you haven’t been there.

      2. Marko Avatar
        Marko

        Iran is indeed a beautiful country. I have never been there but I knew many people who were born and raised there. However, The beauty of the country is not the point here, it’s the attitude of its people -especially its leadership- towards people, their own and foreigners. It seems in Iran it does not take much to find yourself in jail for many years…or worse. Many countries have very strict laws but you will not find yourself facing 10 years in jail for breaking those laws.

        Take Israel for example, another regional country with very strict drone laws. If you do break the drone laws there your drone will be taken and in the most extreme cases you will be deported.

        By the way, the Iranian Drone Laws stipulates: “Failure to obtain a permit prior to flying will result in 6 months of jail, followed by immediate deportation”.

        It is 6 months in Jail, not ten years. But the Iranian’s intent is not just to punish, it is to show who is the boss. They dislike anything that has a Western look, anything that represent the west. Bloggers, especially happy ones, are not welcome.

        Those two are going to be used as a political pawns, they way dictatorships usually does things.

        They should have done their homework, ESPECIALLY in a country like Iran.

        1. Chainsaw Charlie Avatar
          Chainsaw Charlie

          I’ve seen several videos and travel guides about Iran, made by westerners, who didn’t have any issues while being there. So, who should i believe, them, saying that they didn’t have any issues, or you, who said that the Iranians dislike anything that represent the West and that bloggers are not welcome?

          1. Marko Avatar
            Marko

            As I said, I knew people who were born and raised there, it was their advice not to go there since even they would not attempt to go back.

          2. Chainsaw Charlie Avatar
            Chainsaw Charlie

            And as i said, i’ve seen videos and travel guides made by westerners who didn’t have any problem.

          3. Marko Avatar
            Marko

            I don’t dispute that but I spoke to people face to face and heard their honest experience as ex citizens. I would not recommend visiting Iran but hey, people do.

          4. Chainsaw Charlie Avatar
            Chainsaw Charlie

            Did those people, you’ve talked to, treated Westerners badly, so they can speak out of their experience? Because that’s what we’re talking about, right? Not how life is in Iran, but how guests in Iran are treated. You do know that several million of people visit Iran, from all over the world, every year, and that very few of them have a reason to complain? So, recommending people not to visit Iran, and to say that Iranians hate everything that have a Western look is pretty … irrational, not to use a stronger word.

          5. Marko Avatar
            Marko

            Many of those millions (most I would bet) who visit Iran are Muslims. They would be treated differently. Westerners are treated with suspicion. You do not have to except that, however, that is the sad reality of the region.

            Iran is considered to be a safe country when it comes to crime, that is a known fact for travelers. However, being a country with strictly enforced sharia laws and the current situation with the west’s sanctions, I would say that travellers should be very aware, much more than before.

            It’s sad because most Persians would be very welcoming and hospitable but many might not be as welcoming or lenient with foreigners, for obvious reasons.

  5. Gary Sthland Avatar
    Gary Sthland

    In a prisoner exchange deal they could exchange Trump and give these two a chance at life

    1. Robert Bray Avatar
      Robert Bray

      Gary Sthland but Trump didn’t break their laws and fly a damn drone in Iran of all effing places! This might be a story if they were in Florida or something but what do they think is going to happen in Iran!?!

      1. Chainsaw Charlie Avatar
        Chainsaw Charlie

        Actually, Trump DID fly a drone in Iran. The Iranians shot it down, remember?

  6. Peter Verdone Avatar
    Peter Verdone

    CIA. If you aren’t spies, you don’t need to worry.

  7. Jerome James Brouillet Avatar
    Jerome James Brouillet

    Travelers don’t care about drones rules when they are flying in another countries then they got without any authorisation better shots a local can’t even take with permit. So…

    1. Stephen Baumbach Avatar
      Stephen Baumbach

      Jerome James Brouillet well I think, I really think that’s why they wrote the article.

  8. Ying Tong Avatar
    Ying Tong

    A country which has seen its natural resources casually carved up and distributed by western powers, has seen its elected government overthrown and replaced by a western place-man and which is currently enduring the effects of economic sanctions imposed by those same western powers is likely to be a bit touchy about the arbitrary spinning up of surveillance capable drones. I get that and I suspect the dynamic duo would have got it too if they’d taken the trouble to think about it for a moment or two.

    They should engage in dialogue with their captors, whom they will find to be intelligent and reasonable people intent on preserving the heritage of their country from the incursion of gaudy soda pop signs and other western cultural advances.

  9. suruha Avatar
    suruha

    Iran is PO’d at asshat for tearing up a peace deal. This is their revenge!
    The world HATES the US because of that orange POS! I wouldn’t leave my front yard!

  10. Deacon Blues Avatar
    Deacon Blues

    Gods, what a bunch of idiots. I have zero pity.

  11. Michael Tucker Avatar
    Michael Tucker

    Regardless, if you feel this right or wrong, common sense is to know the laws of any country you plan to visit and if you plan on doing photography or drone work there, you need to ask who to contact so you can acquire the appropriate paperwork in case you get stopped and questioned and even better have a interpreter with you. There is nothing like trying to talk your way out of something when you can not speak the language. Any country that has a history of not liking westerners will usually exploit them to get what they want.

  12. Timothyf7 Avatar
    Timothyf7

    For a Country that uses Drones as their primary weapon and spy device – what reaction would you expect?
    .

  13. Richard Avatar
    Richard

    Well they got lucky, being swapped for an Iranian prisoner who was waiting for deportation to the US……not really a fair swap in my opinion for two people who should have known better.

  14. whodunnit Avatar
    whodunnit

    Well, in light of recent circumstances, they may never come back.