‘Never-ending, unrelenting nightmare’: Aussie academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert opens up about the hellish two years she spent locked up in an Iranian jail on spying charges
- Academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert touched down in Canberra on Friday afternoon
- She was released last week after more than two years locked up in jail in Iran
- Dr Moore-Gilbert said she had endured a ‘never-ending, unrelenting nightmare’
- Thanked her supporters Tuesday for their vocal campaign for her to be released
- ‘My freedom is your victory. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!’ she said
Kylie Moore-Gilbert has shared a smiling photo of herself at Doha Airport after she was released from detention in Iran – where she had been jailed for 10 years on spying charges
British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert has issued an emotional statement thanking her supporters for standing by her during the two years she spent in detention in Iran on spying charges.
The 32-year-old was released last week by Iranian authorities – arriving in Canberra on Friday afternoon to undergo two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine.
The Middle Eastern studies lecturer from Melbourne – who was arrested in Tehran in 2018 – was reportedly released as part of a prisoner exchange, although the Australian government has refused to confirm the rumours.
Dr Moore-Gilbert said on Tuesday she had endured a ‘never-ending, unrelenting nightmare’ while locked up – most of which was spent in solitary confinement at the notorious Evin prison.
A photo of the University of Melbourne lecturer has also been released by the Free Kylie Moore-Gilbert group showing her smiling at Doha Airport on her way back to Australia.
‘I honestly do not know where to start or how I can ever thank you for all your incredible efforts to campaign for my release,’ she said.
The statement released through the campaign group revealed she had taken strength from her supporters’ vocal calls for her to be released.
Dr Moore-Gilbert said on Tuesday she had endured a ‘never-ending, unrelenting nightmare’ while locked up in Iran
‘I am totally blown away by everything you have done for me, I honestly have no words to express the depth of my gratitude and how touched I am,’ she said.
‘I can’t tell you how heartening it was to hear that my friends and colleagues were speaking up and hadn’t forgotten me, it gave me so much hope and strength to endure what had seemed like a never-ending, unrelenting nightmare.
‘My freedom truly is your victory. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier said the return of Ms Moore-Gilbert to Australia was a ‘moment of pure joy’.
He described Dr Moore-Gilbert as ‘an extraordinarily intelligent, strong and courageous woman’ and an ‘amazing Australian’.
Mr Morrison – who is also in isolation after his recent trip to Japan – also praised the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their hard work and Foreign Minister Marise Payne for her diplomatic efforts.
‘The return of Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert this week was a moment of pure joy,’ Mr Morrison told a a New South Wales Liberal State Council meeting on Saturday.
‘It was one of the really good days. And Marise’s efforts in leading that effort to secure Kylie’s release and see her come home to Australia is just absolutely tremendous.’
Both Mr Morrison and Senator Payne spoke to Dr Moore-Gilbert earlier in the week and described her as in good spirits.
Iranian state TV aired video showing Dr Moore-Gilbert wearing a hijab shortly after her release
Mr Morrison last week described Dr Moore-Gilbert as ‘an extraordinarily intelligent, strong and courageous woman’ and an ‘amazing Australian’
She arrived in Canberra on Friday afternoon and is now undergoing two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine
The Middle Eastern studies lecturer at Melbourne University was arrested at Tehran airport in 2018 after attending an academic conference.
She was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment on spying charges.
The Australian government has refused to confirm reports that her release was secured as part of a prisoner exchange.
Three Iranian prisoners were also released from Thailand last week.
International pressure on Iran to secure Dr Moore Gilbert’s release has escalated in recent months following reports her health was deteriorating during long stretches of solitary confinement – and that she had been transferred to the notorious Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran.
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 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.