Political prisoner Kylie Moore-Gilbert, the British-Australian woman sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment in Iran is despairing at her isolation and believes the Australian government has abandoned her.
Moore-Gilbert, who has spent more than 600 days inside the notorious Ward 2A of Tehran’s Evin prison, much of it in solitary confinement, was convicted in a secret trial on charges of espionage.
No evidence has ever been presented of her alleged crimes, and the Australian government rejects them as baseless and politically motivated.
The Australian embassy in Tehran is maintaining some contact with Moore-Gilbert. Australia’s ambassador Lyndall Sachs last spoke to her on April 21. She has also spoken with her family.
Information from inside the prison said Moore-Gilbert had been held for long periods in solitary confinement in a 2m by 3m cell, and blindfolded if she was moved around the prison.
When allowed to speak with other prisoners, Moore-Gilbert had reportedly said she believed she had been abandoned by the Australian government.
It is known Moore-Gilbert has undertaken numerous hunger strikes in protest at her conditions.
The executive director of the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, Hadi Ghaemi, said the Australian government needed to forcefully demand her release.
“Kylie’s cries for help are so loud and desperate that even the walls of one of Iran’s most notorious prisons can’t silence them,” he said.
Under Iranian law, once a prisoner’s trial, sentencing and appeals are complete, they should be moved into the general section of the prison, not the secretive Ward 2A, run by the hardline Revolutionary Guards.
“Iranian intelligence agents are trying to muzzle Kylie by unlawfully isolating her in a severely restricted ward that’s supposed to be used for temporary detention for more than a year,” said Ghaemi. “And no Iranian official has explained why.”
Moore-Gilbert has been publicly silent for months, since a series of smuggled letters were published earlier this year detailing the privations of her imprisonment, including months isolated in solitary confinement, and a shortage of food, medicine, and money to buy personal items.
“I feel like I am abandoned and forgotten … I am an innocent victim,” she wrote.
She wrote that she rejected outright an offer from Tehran to spy for the Iranian government that would have seen her freed.
“I am not a spy. I have never been a spy and I have no interest in working for a spying organisation in any country. When I leave Iran, I want to be a free woman and live a free life, not under the shadow of extortion and threats.”
While Iran has furloughed more than 100,000 prisoners out of concern COVID-19 could sweep through the country’s overcrowded prisons, Moore-Gilbert has not been among those released.
Moore-Gilbert, a graduate of Melbourne and Cambridge universities, is a lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne.
She was arrested in September 2018 after attending an academic conference, at which she was invited to speak, in Qom. Fellow conference delegates and an interview subject for her academic work flagged her as “suspicious” to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, who arrested her at Tehran airport. (Source: The Guardian)