Kylie Moore-Gilbert is reportedly free from prison in Iran
Kylie Moore-Gilbert is reportedly free from prison in Iran

Aussie academic ‘freed from jail’

Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been freed from jail in Iran after more than spending more than 800 days inside on political charges she denied, according to reports.

The Islamic Studies expert, who was raised in Bathurst, New South Wales, was expected to be returned to her family in Australia.

The University of Melbourne academic was swapped for three Iranian businessmen, according to reports from Iranian news websites.

Footage played on Iribnews, the country's national broadcaster, showed Dr Moore-Gilbert being driven in a van.

She appeared well, although she turned her face at one point from the cameras.

 

Kylie Moore-Gilbert released from jail in Iran, according to reports. Picture: Supplied
Kylie Moore-Gilbert released from jail in Iran, according to reports. Picture: Supplied

The Australian Government has been working on her release, but has yet to make a comment.

However last month, DFAT said it did not accept the charges made against her.

It was understood that Dr Moore-Gilbert would be taken to Australia's embassy in Tehran.

Dr Moore-Gilbert, who was arrested in 2018 when she was at the Tehran international airport, has always denied claims she was acting as a spy.

Her case was heard in secret and was conducted in Farsi, the official Iranian language, leaving her little chance to defend herself.

She was reported to Iranian authorities by a colleague at her conference at the University of Qom, to which she was invited.

There have been suspicions that the invitation was a trap.

 

Iran's University of Religions and Denominations published this image of Kylie Moore-Gilbert at her study group from August 2018. Picture: Supplied
Iran's University of Religions and Denominations published this image of Kylie Moore-Gilbert at her study group from August 2018. Picture: Supplied

"An Iranian businessman and two Iranian citizens who were detained abroad on baseless charges were exchanged for a dual national spy named Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who worked for the Zionist regime," the Young Journalist Club news website, linked to the regime, said.

Dr Moore-Gilbert, 33, had been moved out of Qarchak prison, described as one of the world's worst female jails, in October, raising some hope of her release.

However, there was confusion about where she had been taken for almost a week until it was revealed she had been returned to Evin prison.

Dr Moore-Gilbert pleaded with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in a letter first published by News Corp Australia, to get her out of Iran on Christmas Eve last year.

 

Iran’s Qarchak prison, where Kylie Moore-Gilbert was jailed. Picture: Supplied
Iran’s Qarchak prison, where Kylie Moore-Gilbert was jailed. Picture: Supplied

Mr Morrison said after those reports that Australia was trying to be "discreet" in its efforts.

Dr Moore-Gilbert's family released a statement in September to mark two years behind bars.

"We love Kylie very much and we remain strong and far from losing hope," she said.

"For those who also know and love Kylie, they will recognise her fortitude and strength. We know this strength remains with her throughout this ordeal."

Friends of Dr Moore-Gilbert said on Thursday morning Australian time that they were excited and relieved.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert. Picture: University of Melbourne.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert. Picture: University of Melbourne.

"I've seen the video and that's what clinched it," a friend, who asked not to be named, said.

"We've been exchanging messages. We're just relieved for Kylie and want her to have peace to get over the ordeal, which won't be easy."

Dr Moore-Gilbert's colleague Dara Conduit, a Middle East studies expert at Deakin University, said her reported release was "incredible."

"We are holding our breath as we wait for official confirmation, but if this is true, this is the most incredible news. Finally our innocent friend has been freed, and we can't wait for her to have her two feet firmly back on Australian soil," she said.

"We thank the Australian community and the media for their incredible support, but now is the time for quiet."

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

 

 

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Originally published as Aussie academic 'freed from jail'



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