The British prime minister has written to Iranian President Hassan Rohani to request the release of Kamal Foroughi, an Iranian-British citizen.

Kamal Foroughi

Kamal Foroughi

The Independent website reported on Saturday December 12 that David Cameron has intervened on behalf of Foroughi, who has been imprisoned in Iran on spying charges for nearly five years.

The report adds that according to his family, Foroughi is in grave health and “may die” in prison.

The British prime minister called for leniency for Foroughi, who has served just over half of his eight-year sentence.

The report indicates that British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond discussed Foroughi’s possible release with Rohani on his trip to Tehran this year.

Foroughi worked in Iran as a consultant for the Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas when he was arrested in 2011.

Amnesty International announced in September that he was sick and in need of special care, which the prison was not equipped to provide.

Foroughi’s arrest became public knowledge for the first time in October, when his family broke its silence.

Kamran Foroughi told the British ITV network that his father is completely innocent and risks death if he remains in jail. The son added that no one knows why his father was put in jail and that his arrest was a “big mistake”.