Kylie Moore-Gilbert Feels Abandoned by Australia, Letters Say

Letters smuggled out of Evin prison reveal that British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert is despairing at her isolation inside prison, believing she has been abandoned to her decade-long sentence. Since March 2020, Iran, one of the countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, has temporarily released around 85,000 prisoners due to the fear of the novel coronavirus. Political prisoners and foreign academics such as Moore-Gilbert have been excluded from the furlough.

Dr Moore-Gilbert, Photo Credit: University of Melbourne.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a University of Melbourne lecturer and researcher specializing in Middle East politics, has spent more than 600 days in prison. She was detained in August 2018 by the Islamic Republic of Iran and sentenced to 10 years for undisclosed reasons. She is currently b eing held in Ward 2A, an isolated Revolutionary Guard-run wing of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.


Reports suggest that the Australian embassy in Tehran is maintaining some contact with Moore-Gilbert. Australia’s ambassador Lyndall Sachs last spoke to her on April 21, 2020. Moore-Gilbert was also able to speak with her father in March.

As we reported previously, in a series of handwritten letters to Iranian authorities, Moore-Gilbert declared that her detention is nothing but a political hostage taking. In the letter she reveals that in October 2019 she was even shown two alternative decisions to her appeal: one for a 13-month sentence (essentially “time-served,” which would have seen her released) and another confirming the original sentence of 10 years.


“How is it possible that two very different appeal decisions were delivered to ‘2A’ detention centre? It is clear that Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Intelligence is playing an awful game with me. I am an innocent victim,” Moore-Gilbert said. It is known that, to date, Moore-Gilbert has undertaken numerous hunger strikes in protest at her conditions. Khandan said Moore-Gilbert has attempted suicide multiple times, but this has not been independently verified and has been rejected by some sources with knowledge of her conditions.

Moore-Gilbert’s most immediate concern is her simple survival in prison. She has written repeatedly to authorities, requesting better access to medication and for money to buy personal items and food she can safely eat—she is allergic to much of the prison’s food. “I am entirely alone in Iran. I have no friends or family here and in addition to all the pain I have endured here, I feel like I am abandoned and forgotten, that after so many times of asking my embassy, I still have no money at all to endure all of this.”

No evidence has ever been presented publicly that Moore-Gilbert was involved in espionage, and the Australian government says it rejects her conviction.

We at Endangered Scholars Worldwide consider Kylie Moore-Gilbert’s detention a flagrant and unjust violation of the freedom, security, and safety of an academic who has been caught up in the political tension between the United Kingdom and Iran—arrested without cause, held for weeks in solitary confinement and without access to a lawyer, and subjected to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse. Endangered Scholars Worldwide deplores and condemns the ongoing detention, persecution, conviction, and mistreatment of Kylie Moore-Gilbert and calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to strongly protest and condemn this arbitrary incarceration; to ask for her immediate and unconditional release; and to urge the officials of the Iranian government to end the tactic of taking of foreign nationals and dual citizen scholars and students hostage for political gains and to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of human rights.

CC:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader

Jomhouri Street

Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 644 11

Website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/www.Khamenei.ir


President Hassan Rouhani

The Office of the President

Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection

Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

Javad Zarif

Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Minister’s Office

Imam Khomeini Square

Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +98 21 66743149

Website: http://www.mfa.gov.ir

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jzarif

Michelle Bachelet

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org

Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Email: sreducation@ohchr.org

David Kaye

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10

Switzerland

Fax: +41 22 917 9006

Email: freedex@ohchr.org

Josep Borrell

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

European Commission

Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200

1049 Brussels

Belgium

Marija Pejčinović Burić

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

France

Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99

Christophe Poirel

Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law Council of Europe

Avenue de l'Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

France

Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99

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