Jailed academe Kylie Moore-Gilbert ‘is well’, Australian envoy says


Imprisoned academic Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert is in good health and “has access to food, medical treatment and books” inside Qarchak women’s prison, Australia’s ambassador to Iran said.

Ambassador Lyndall Sachs, was granted a visit with Moore-Gilbert on Sunday and said that she is well.

British-Australian citizen Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was sent to Tehran’s Evin Prison in September 2018 after being sentenced to 10 years on charges of spying.

She was tried in secret and strongly denies all the charges against her.

Concerns for her well-being escalated with news last week that she had been moved to Qarchak Prison, a notorious prison in the desert.

The jail is sometimes used as punishment for Iranian political prisoners and conditions have been described by former inmates as abysmal.

In a statement, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said Ambassador Sachs visited Ms Moore-Gilbert on Sunday.

She “has access to food, medical facilities and books”, the statement said, adding that Australia would continue to seek “regular consular access”.

“We believe that the best chance of resolving Dr Moore-Gilbert’s case lies through the diplomatic path,” it said.

Ms Moore-Gilbert’s family said they were “reassured” by the ambassador’s visit.

“We remain committed to getting our Kylie home as soon as possible and this is our top and only priority,” they added.

The Cambridge-educated academic was travelling on an Australian passport when she was detained at Tehran airport in 2018 as she tried to leave following a conference.

Before being moved to Qarchak prison, she had spent almost two years sleeping on the floor of a cell at Evin prison in the capital, Tehran, according to a friend.

She has been in solitary confinement and on several hunger strikes, and she is said to have been beaten for trying to comfort new prisoners by passing notes and writing to them on prison walls.

In letters smuggled out of Evin prison in January, the lecturer said she had “never been a spy” and feared for her mental health. She said she had rejected an offer from Iran to become a spy.

“I am not a spy. I have never been a spy, and I have no interest to work for a spying organisation in any country,” she wrote. (Source: BBC)