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Australian academic freed in Iran hails end of 'traumatic ordeal'

Moore-Gilbert said she departs Iran with "bittersweet feelings" [University of Melbourne]

Date of publication: 26 November, 2020

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An Australian-British academic freed by Iran said her release ended a "long and traumatic ordeal".

Freed Australian-British academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert on Thursday said her release from jail in Iran ended a "long and traumatic ordeal," thanking those who campaigned for her freedom.

Moore-Gilbert said the support she received while detained "had meant the world to me" and praised the government for "working tirelessly" on her behalf, according to a statement released by Australia's foreign ministry.

The academic said she had "nothing but respect, love and admiration" for Iran and its people - despite spending two years and three months in prison on spying charges that she has strenuously denied.

"It is with bittersweet feelings that I depart your country, despite the injustices which I have been subjected to," she said.

"I came to Iran as a friend and with friendly intentions, and depart Iran with those sentiments not only still intact, but strengthened."

She said she now faces a "challenging period of adjustment".

Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne who is in her early 30s, had been serving a 10-year sentence for spying.

Iran confirmed her arrest in September 2019 but it had long been believed she was detained a year earlier.

The Islamic republic said Wednesday she had been released in a prisoner exchange but there was no immediate confirmation of the identity of the three Iranians reportedly involved.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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