Iran: British-Australian academic moved to Qarchak desert prison

The husband of a fellow prisoner said she had been transferred as ‘punishment’

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Melbourne University lecturer held by Iran. AFP
Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Melbourne University lecturer held by Iran. AFP

A British-Australian lecturer jailed in Iran has been moved from Evin prison in Tehran to the notorious Qarchak prison in the desert south-east of the Iranian capital.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Islamic studies lecturer at the University of Melbourne, is serving a 10-year sentence for spying, an offence she denies, and was tried and convicted in secret.

Iran confirmed her arrest in September 2019, but at the time her family said she had already been detained for months.

Human rights groups said in May that Dr Moore-Gilbert’s mental health was under strain and she had tried to take her own life more than once. But the same month, her family said she was in good health “considering her situation”.

Iran has been struggling to contain coronavirus infections and said it had freed 85,000 prisoners to help stem its spread, Reuters reported.

Fellow Evin prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker, was moved to house arrest in March after serving four years of a five-year sentence.

She was convicted for plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, a charge she strenuously denies.

Authorities have not yet informed her whether she will have to return to Evin or will be released permanently.

Dr Moore-Gilbert reportedly told a human rights activist earlier this week that she had not been allowed to speak to her family for about a month.

In a Facebook post, the husband of jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, Reza Khandan, said Dr Moore-Gilbert had said: “I can’t eat anything, I don’t know, I’m so disappointed. I’m so very depressed.”

The Centre for Supporters of Human Rights in Iran said the news Dr Moore-Gilbert had been moved came from Mr Khandan, who said in the same Facebook post she had been moved for “punishment”.

Updated: July 28, 2020 02:48 PM

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