Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden supports family’s bid to free father jailed in Iran

Kamran Foroughi, with his father Kamal, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2011. His family are f

Kamran Foroughi, with his father Kamal, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2011. His family are fighting for his release. - Credit: Supplied

The plight of a poorly 76-year-old British national held in an Iranian jail for more than four years has prompted his family to go public for help in securing his urgent release.

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden, of St Albans, has called for Kamal Foroughi to be set free from the notorious Iranian jail, Evin prison in Tehran, on humanitarian grounds.

The politician has spoken out about Kamal’s plight after being in contact with his concerned son, Kamran Foroughi, who lives locally.

Kamal was imprisoned in May 2011 and in 2013 the upper court sentenced him to seven years in jail for espionage and an additional year for possessing alcohol in the home.

But it is not clear on what evidence that Iran convicted him.

The prisoner’s family had feared that going public might make the situation worse for him, but they have become increasingly concerned about his health.

Oliver said: “Clearly this is an extremely difficult time for Kamran and his family. As his Member of Parliament, I am determined to do everything I can to secure his father’s release.

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“I have been in contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which has informed me that it has called for Kamal to be released on humanitarian grounds.”

Oliver said he would raise the case with Ministers in Parliament, and also make representations to senior members of the Iranian Government.

He added: “Clearly the grounds upon which Kamal was imprisoned are highly questionable and I am keen to secure his immediate release. Both my constituent and the FCO have become increasingly concerned about Kamal’s health.

“As Kamran is a local man, I am encouraging residents to support the campaign for his father’s release.”

The Herts Advertiser understands that the Foreign Secretary spoke with President Hassan Rouhani during his visit to Tehran in August, and with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the UN recently.

Kamran has asked fellow locals to support the campaign by writing to the Iranian authorities, including the Iranian embassy in London, asking for Kamal to be freed on compassionate grounds, and for his father to be allowed full and regular medical check-ups.

A campaign via Twitter is also underway; use @FreeKForoughi and #FreeKamalForoughi