Australian released after 800 days in Iran | Free press


She attends a scientific conference in Iran – when the Australian Islam expert Moore-Gilbert was behind bars for more than two years. How did it come to her release now?

Canberra / Tehran (dpa) – The Australian government has confirmed the release of Australian Islam scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert in Iran.

“In consultation with her family, Dr. Moore-Gilbert’s release has been achieved through diplomatic contact with the Iranian government, ”Foreign Minister Marise Payne wrote in a statement on Thursday. “This result shows the value of professional and determined work (…) in resolving complex and sensitive consular matters.”

The Islamic scholar and lecturer at the University of Melbourne was arrested in September 2018 after attending an academic conference in Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison for spying on Israel and endangering national security. Moore-Gilbert, who is also a British national, denied the allegations. She was detained for more than 800 days in total.

The Canberra government has not confirmed a report on Iranian state television broadcaster Irib, according to which the release took place as part of a prisoner exchange. In exchange for the release of Moore-Gilbert, three Iranians detained abroad are said to have been released.

In a statement, Moore-Gilbert thanked those who had campaigned for their freedom during the “long and traumatic ordeal.” “I have nothing but respect, love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its warm, generous and courageous people. I leave the country with bittersweet feelings, despite the injustice to which I have been exposed, ”the 33-year-old wrote.

All attempts by the Australian government to facilitate their release through diplomatic channels had previously failed. The judiciary in Iran is independent and does not mediate on national issues, she said in Tehran.

This year, two prisoner exchanges have already taken place in Iran. In February a German and in March a French were exchanged for an Iranian. In December 2019, an American historian imprisoned in Iran was released – in return, an Iranian researcher was released from prison in the United States.