Irishman describes suffering from PTSD after being imprisoned in Iran

Bernard Phelan

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been described by an Irishman who was recently released from an Iranian prison.

Although Bernard Phelan, 64, was raised in Blackrock, County Dublin, he is originally from Clonmel, County Tipperary.

In October of last year, he was taken into custody in Mashad, in the northeast.

Mr. Phelan received a six-and-a-half-year prison term in March after being charged with "providing information to an enemy country.".

Irishman given a six-and-a-half-year prison term in Iran.

For the Irish prisoner in Iran, Micheál Martin is "very concerned.".

Since 2017, the Paris-based travel agent had been promoting Iran as a tourist destination while there.

He was detained while traveling on a French passport because he was a dual citizen.

On October 3, Mr. Phelan was taken into custody in Mashad, a city in the country's northeast, amid a wave of anti-government demonstrations that saw millions take to the streets.

He was detained for allegedly taking pictures of policemen and a burned-out mosque.

An appeal for Mr. Phelan's release on humanitarian grounds was made due to his hypertensive heart disease, chronic bone and vision problems, and other medical conditions.

Speaking to Irish television station RTÉ, he claimed that some commonplace events could bring back memories and that French authorities had referred him to a psychiatrist.

"Nightmares exist. I take sleeping pills because I have trouble sleeping and nightmares about getting kicked while on the floor. I sob upon waking. It's difficult," he said.

He claimed that throughout the night, he could hear beatings happening outside of his cell. He claimed that for about three weeks while being interrogated, he only had a blanket and slept on the floor.

He shared a cell with 20 other people, which made the experience "terrible," and he added that because of the diverse group of inmates, things occasionally became "tense.".

His main concern in prison was the possibility of conflict with other inmates because, when there were disputes among inmates, "you just never knew what was going to happen.".

According to Mr. Phelan, one prisoner made a throat-slitting gesture before accusing him of belonging to the so-called Islamic State.

"I wasn't physically afraid of the authorities, but they engaged in what was known as 'white torture,' which is this entire system of raising your hopes and lowering them—it's psychological torture,' he continued.

"I began to think negatively. I wasn't sure if my health would withstand this lifestyle of poor nutrition, inactivity, and mental instability. ".

Mr. Phelan discussed his worries while he was incarcerated and the truth of being told he might pass away there.

There were some frightful instances. The courthouse's basement was the scariest, according to him.

They attempted to coerce me into signing documents in Persian when I first saw a judge. I wouldn't sign them either. They brought a guard in to try and convince me, but I refused. ".

"You will die in prison," the judge said through his translator as I was leaving his office, the man continued. ".

The diplomatic response from Ireland to his detention, according to Mr. Phelan, was "more than decent.".

He admitted, "I'm not sure exactly what they did. "There is no particular cause for hostility between the Irish and the Iranians. I believe that I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

. "

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