Australian ambassador to visit Kylie Moore-Gilbert after transfer to squalid Iran prison

Australian diplomatic officials will visit academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert as her friends and supporters launch a public campaign to get her freed.

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been sentenced to 10 years in jail after being convicted of spying in Iran.

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert was sentenced to 10 years in jail after being convicted of spying in Iran. Source: Supplied

An Australian academic jailed in a dangerous Iran prison on accusations of espionage has been granted a consular visit after reports surfaced of her deteriorating health.

Australian diplomatic officials will soon visit academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, as her friends and supporters launch a public campaign to get her freed.

Dr Moore-Gilbert, who strongly denies the charges made against her, has been jailed in Iran since September 2018 and faces a 10-year prison sentence.


Human Rights Watch Australia director Elaine Pearson said Dr Moore-Gilbert was recently moved into Iran's notorious Qarchak women's prison, which has been singled out by the US for gross human rights violations.

"I think it's worse that she has been transferred to Qarchak prison, where conditions certainly are worse," she said.

"Hygiene standards are worse and, in the midst of the pandemic and knowing Iran is really grappling with it, this is not a good sign at all."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Friday confirmed Australia's ambassador to Iran would be allowed a consular visit to see Dr Moore-Gilbert.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert
Activists want the Australian government to facilitate Kylie Moore-Gilbert's access to basic rights. (AAP) Source: AAP

Friend Jessie Moritz, who recently helped launch a website to raise awareness for Dr Moore-Gilbert's plight, said the consular visit was the absolute least that should be done.

"For her to have a visit with the ambassador and to be in good physical health, that is the bare minimum," Dr Moritz said.

"I don't think anyone could go through what she has been going through and not suffer enormously.

"Every piece of publicly available evidence suggests quiet diplomacy isn't working so that's why we have decided in good conscience we can't remain quiet anymore."

Australia’s ambassador to Iran recently visited Dr Moore-Gilbert in Evin Prison, and she has had telephone contact with her family and the ambassador over the last several months, a DFAT spokesperson said earlier this week.

Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been imprisoned in Iran for more than two years.
Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert. Source: Supplied

Reza Khandan, the husband of lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh - who is in Evin prison for human rights activism - has posted on Facebook that Dr Moore-Gilbert was transferred in recent days to Qarchak women's prison for "punishment reasons".

Mr Khandan said Dr Moore-Gilbert was able to contact him to say the conditions at Qarchak were awful.

"I cannot eat anything, I am very disappointed, I am so very depressed," he reported her saying.

Dr Moore-Gilbert told Mr Khandan she had last spoken to her family about a month ago.

Qarchak is in the desert east of Tehran and is reportedly rife with coronavirus, is overcrowded, has poor sanitation and not enough beds for all inmates.

The jail holds political prisoners as well as those who have committed violent crimes.

3 min read
Published 31 July 2020 at 8:10pm
By Lin Evlin
Source: SBS