Iran frees British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert in prisoner swap

Iran has freed British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert who has been detained in Iran for more than two years. 

She was released in exchange for three Iranians held abroad, Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported today.

It offered no further details beyond saying that the three Iranians released in the swap had been detained for trying to bypass sanctions.

Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was sent to Tehran’s Evin Prison in September 2018 and sentenced to 10 years. 

Iran has freed Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured), a British-Australian academic who has been detained in Iran for more than two years, in exchange for three Iranians held abroad

Iran has freed Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured), a British-Australian academic who has been detained in Iran for more than two years, in exchange for three Iranians held abroad

Iran has freed Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured), a British-Australian academic who has been detained in Iran for more than two years, in exchange for three Iranians held abroad

State TV aired video showing Moore-Gilbert with a gray hijab sitting at what appeared to be a greeting room at one of Tehran's airports

State TV aired video showing Moore-Gilbert with a gray hijab sitting at what appeared to be a greeting room at one of Tehran's airports

State TV aired video showing Moore-Gilbert with a gray hijab sitting at what appeared to be a greeting room at one of Tehran’s airports

She is one of several Westerners held in Iran on internationally criticised espionage charges that their families and rights groups say are unfounded.

It was not immediately clear when Moore-Gilbert would arrive back in Australia. 

State TV aired a video showing her with a gray hijab sitting at what appeared to be a greeting room at one of Tehran’s airports. She wore a blue face mask under her chin. 

The footage showed the three men who were freed in exchange for her being released with Iranian flags over their shoulders. 

Footage showed three men with Iranian flags over their shoulders who were freed in exchange for her being released

Footage showed three men with Iranian flags over their shoulders who were freed in exchange for her being released

Footage showed three men with Iranian flags over their shoulders who were freed in exchange for her being released

State TV earlier described them as ‘economic activists’, without elaborating.

A website affiliated to state TV had earlier said that an Iranian businessman and two Iranian citizens who had been held abroad ‘on baseless charges’ had been exchanged. 

The Young Journalist Club said they were detained for trying to circumvent U.S. sanctions, reimposed on Iran in 2018 when Washington exited Iran’s nuclear deal with six powers.

International pressure on Iran to secure her release has escalated in recent months following reports that her health was deteriorating during long stretches of solitary confinement and that she had been transferred to the notorious Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured in 2017), a University of Melbourne scholar on the Middle East, is one of several Westerners held in Iran on internationally criticised espionage charges that their families and rights groups say are unfounded

Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured in 2017), a University of Melbourne scholar on the Middle East, is one of several Westerners held in Iran on internationally criticised espionage charges that their families and rights groups say are unfounded

Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured in 2017), a University of Melbourne scholar on the Middle East, is one of several Westerners held in Iran on internationally criticised espionage charges that their families and rights groups say are unfounded

Moore-Gilbert has gone on hunger strikes and pleaded for the Australian government to do more to free her. 

Those pleas included writing to the prime minister that she had been subjected to ‘grievous violations’ of her rights, including psychological torture and solitary confinement.

She was moved from Elvin prison to the notorious Qarchak prison, widely regarded as the worst women’s prison in Iran, after 22 months.

Last month she was moved to an unknown location after long periods of solitary confinement and poor health, reported The Guardian.

Moore-Gilbert was moved from Elvin prison to the notorious Qarchak prison, widely regarded as the worst women’s prison in Iran, after 22 months

Moore-Gilbert was moved from Elvin prison to the notorious Qarchak prison, widely regarded as the worst women’s prison in Iran, after 22 months

Moore-Gilbert was moved from Elvin prison to the notorious Qarchak prison, widely regarded as the worst women’s prison in Iran, after 22 months 

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

‘Kylie has been detained for more than two years now, and she has endured very difficult conditions including extreme isolation.’ 

Her detention has further strained relations between Iran and the West, which reached a fever pitch earlier this year following the American killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad and retaliatory Iranian strikes on a US military base.

There was no immediate comment from Britain’s Foreign Office. 

Link hienalouca.com

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