Australia: Attorney-General Christian Porter on Sunday, October 6, refused to comment on the matter of an alleged prisoner swap behind the release of the two Australian bloggers from the Iran jail in exchange of an Iranian student who was facing extradition charges to the United States. The Iranian student was detained for 13 months in Australia for buying a defence system for his country from the United States. According to reports, Porter revealed that student will be extradited to the US, however, refused to comment on a prisoner swap.
The Australian blogging couple, Jolie King and Mark Firkin returned to Australia on Saturday after Iran dropped all the charges against them. The couple was arrested and detained in Tehran's Evin prison for flying a drone near a military zone without a license on September 13. The couple was on a trip from Western Australia to the United Kingdom when they were held.
According to reports, the release of the Australian bloggers has led to speculation of a prisoner swap. Further reports state that the couple was released in exchange to an Iranian student who was facing extradition to the United States. The Australian Attorney General, as well as the US Embassy, has refused to comment on the matter as said by the former "The Australian government does not comment on the details behind its consideration of particular cases." As per reports, a prisoner swap includes a deal between two opposite sides who are in a conflict to release prisoners. According to an Australian National University expert on international law Donald Rothwell, prisoner swaps were common during the Cold War period, however, it is exceptional in terms of Australia's practices. Further, he believes that Australia would have tried to negotiate a "three-for-one outcome" with Iran.
According to the Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, the government is seeking the return of the third Australian- Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer from Melbourne University who has been detained in Iran since October 2018. According to reports, she has been sentenced for 10 years for alleged spying. Describing the situation, Payne stated that the situation is "extremely complex".
(WITH AP INPUTS)