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The New Arab Staff

Detained British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert moved out of desert prison in Iran

Kylie Moore Gilbert on The Modern Middle East [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 October, 2020

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An Australian-British academic, who was charged with espionage in Iran, has been moved out of the desert prison.
British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert has reportedly been moved from Iran's Qarchak prison, where she was living out her ten-year sentence on espionage charges.

Her family and friends have not been informed of where she has been transferred, and according to the HRANA news agency, the news segment of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists.

She was moved out of the desert prison on Saturday, according to reports.

The Middle East researcher had served two years out of ten at Qarchak. She was arrested in Tehran on September 2018 and convicted, like most other foreign nationals accused of spying, in a secret trial.

Moore-Gilbert denied the allegations against her, and no evidence was ever made public regarding her alleged crime.

The Australian government accused the Iranian government of arresting her for political reasons, according to a Guardian report.

"Obviously one hopes the move might be good news for Kylie, but we don’t know yet," said Elaine Pearson, Australia director of Human Rights Watch.

"Kylie has been detained for more than two years now, and she has endured very difficult conditions including extreme isolation. The Australian government should press forcefully and consistently for Kylie’s release and safe return to Australia."

Over a week before she was moved to a new location, the prison had experienced an outbreak of coronavirus and she was shifted to the Mother’s Ward at Qarchak (Ward Eight).

'Followed everywhere'

Every step British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert made during her detention in the notorious women's prison was being monitored by authorities, sources inside the jail have alleged.

The Melbourne-based academic had enough money to buy food and water inside Qarchak prison but her communication with the outside world were closely monitored.

The executive director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center (ABC) for Human Rights in Iran, Roya Boromouand, shared details on Moore-Gilbert's condition which he received from other prisoners.

"The reason we have trouble getting information from Kylie is that the authorities have mandated two prisoners to follow her everywhere, to report if any prisoners talk to her.

But we have some information from people inside that she has enough money on her prison card to be able to buy food and water," Boroumand told the publication.

Sources inside the prison said Moore-Gilbert appeared to have avoided contracting Covid-19 - for which at least 30 prisoners in Qarchak prison have tested positive.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert was a lecturer on Middle Eastern studies at Melbourne University before being detained in 2018 while trying to leave Iran.

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