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Kylie Moore-Gilbert reveals the mantra that kept her alive in an Iranian prison

Telling herself she was ‘free, no matter what’ is how Kylie Moore-Gilbert stayed alive while locked up in a hellhole Iranian prison for more than two years.

The Australian academic was released in November after spending 804 days in jail on trumped-up spying charges.

In a preview for an interview airing on March 9, Dr Moore-Gilbert said her daily mantra was ‘I am free, no matter what you do to me, I am still free.’

‘I want to talk about what happened to me… That place is my nightmare,’ the 33-year-old stoically told Sky News Australia.

Dr Moore-Gilbert said that upon her arrest on her way to the airport, she had a gut feeling she was ‘in deep trouble’.

In a preview for a bombshell interview with Sky News Australia, set to air on March 9, Dr Moore-Gilbert told journalist Melissa Doyle that her daily mantra was ‘I am free, no matter what you do to me, I am still free’

British-Australian academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured), who was held in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison for more than 800 days, has split from her husband after allegedly discovering he had had an affair with colleague Dr Kylie Baxter while she was behind bars

Mr Hodorov with Dr Baxter

British-Australian academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured left), who was held in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison for more than 800 days, has split from her husband after allegedly discovering he had had an affair with colleague Dr Kylie Baxter while she was behind bars. Right: Mr Hodorov with Dr Baxter

When asked if she knew who ‘dobbed her in’ to Iranian authorities, she responded: ‘I do’.  

Host Melissa Doyle, who in 2020 left Seven News after 25 years, said Dr Moore-Gilbert is ‘one of the most remarkable women’ she has ever interviewed.

‘Her experience will both frighten and shock you, her determination to survive will leave you in awe, but above all, her grace and strength will inspire you,’ she said.

‘I do not know how she survived years of hell – solitary confinement, starvation and the constant fear of what could happen next. Her dignity can only be admired.’

Doyle told News Corp that the Islamic studies scholar was kept in a ‘box’-like jail cell during her seven months in solitary confinement.

‘It was so tiny and it had a boarded-up window. She goes into detail about what it felt like and what it was like and how she survived… her mental strength through it, to keep going, to stay alive and the thoughts that she had of her future,’ she said. 

‘I feel like she hasn’t fully processed it yet and she acknowledges that she hasn’t dealt with a lot of it in her mind. I almost feel as though she’s sort of put it in a box and she’s come home and she’s got so many other things to deal with

Dr Moore-Gilbert said that upon her arrest on her way to the airport, she had a gut feeling she was 'in deep trouble'

Dr Moore-Gilbert said that upon her arrest on her way to the airport, she had a gut feeling she was ‘in deep trouble’

Dr Moore-Gilbert, an Islamic studies scholar, was freed last November in a prisoner swap deal after spending 804 days in jail on trumped-up spying charges

Dr Moore-Gilbert, an Islamic studies scholar, was freed last November in a prisoner swap deal after spending 804 days in jail on trumped-up spying charges

‘At one point she talks about how she almost feels like she’s sort of watching somebody else. That what she’s going through is like watching herself in a movie.’  

Dr Moore-Gilbert’s reunion with her husband after years in captivity didn’t go well as they split when she allegedly discovered he had an affair while she was behind bars. 

After being released and touching down in Melbourne, she found out that her Russian-Israeli husband, Ruslan Hodorov, was in a relationship with Dr Kylie Baxter, her university colleague and PhD supervisor, The Herald Sun reported. 

Before her September 2018 arrest, Dr Moore-Gilbert and Mr Hodorov had just bought a house in Melbourne’s east after marrying in 2017 in a Jewish ceremony. 

She is said to be divorcing him following her discovery of his alleged infidelity. 

Both Mr Hodorov and Dr Baxter pushed for Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release after her arrest for espionage in September 2018.

She was given a 10-year sentence but always denied the charges.

The Herald Sun cited friends of Mr Hodorov, 31, and Dr Baxter, 43, claimed their affair started a year after Dr Moore-Gilbert’s arrest.  

Dr Moore-Gilbert and Dr Baxter are both experts in Middle East studies at the University of Melbourne.

But, according to Melbourne newspaper The Herald Sun , she then discovered that her Russian-Israeli husband, Ruslan Hodorov, was having an affair with Dr Kylie Baxter, her university colleague and PhD supervisor

But, according to Melbourne newspaper The Herald Sun , she then discovered that her Russian-Israeli husband, Ruslan Hodorov, was having an affair with Dr Kylie Baxter, her university colleague and PhD supervisor

Dr Moore-Gilbert is reported to have suffered ‘immense’ shock on learning of her husband’s alleged affair.

She had defended her husband while in prison by refusing to help lure him to Iran in a plot concocted by her captors, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. 

A letter from Dr Moore-Gilbert to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, which was smuggled out of Evin prison revealed how the IRGC tried to set a trap for Mr Hodorov, who they wrongly accused of being an Israeli spy. 

‘The Revolutionary Guard have imprisoned me in these terrible conditions for over nine months in order to extort me both personally and my government,’ Dr Moore-Gilbert wrote to the prime minister.

‘They have also attempted to use me as a hostage in a diabolical plot to lure my husband, an Australian permanent resident (and soon to be new citizen) into joining me in an Iranian prison.’

Dr Moore-Gilbert and Mr Hodorov married a few months before she left their Melbourne home on her study trip to Iran.

They met a decade earlier when she visited Israel, where Mr Hodorov lived after emigrating from Russia with his family. 

While imprisoned, Dr Moore-Gilbert was kept in a tiny cell in freezing temperatures and was subjected to psychological torture. 

A university spokesman refused to comment on the affair claims.

‘The university is grateful that Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert has returned to Australia and is recovering with family and friends,’ they told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Our priority is her health and well-being. We are looking forward to her returning to campus when she is ready.

‘We will not be commenting on Kylie’s private life.’

Dr Moore-Gilbert previously described some of the conditions in her prison when she penned a tweet in December about another inmate.   

Before her September 2018 arrest, the 33-year-old and Mr Hodorov had just bought a house in Melbourne's east after marrying in 2017 in a Jewish ceremony

Before her September 2018 arrest, the 33-year-old and Mr Hodorov had just bought a house in Melbourne’s east after marrying in 2017 in a Jewish ceremony

She is blindfolded every time she leaves her small, cold, empty cell,’ she wrote. 

‘She is even masked and blindfolded when taken to the outdoor ‘exercise’ area. If she refuses, she will be handcuffed and dragged there by force. 

‘No one has heard from her since her transfer.’

Last month, Dr Moore-Gilbert reunited with  Perth bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin, two prisoners who she spent time with while behind bars.    

‘Sinister undercover meeting of evil ”Mossad agents” plotting world domination (please note – no drones were harmed in the taking of this picture!)’ she wrote along with a selfie of the trio. 

The 31-year-old (right) shared a photo on Wednesday with Perth bloggers Jolie King (middle) and Mark Firkin (left) who were imprisoned with her for three months

The 31-year-old (right) shared a photo on Wednesday with Perth bloggers Jolie King (middle) and Mark Firkin (left) who were imprisoned with her for three months 

British-Australian academic Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert disembarks an Australian Government jet in Canberra on November 27, 2020 after her release

British-Australian academic Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert disembarks an Australian Government jet in Canberra on November 27, 2020 after her release

Ms King and Mr Firkin had spent three years in Evin Prison in northern Iran before they were released in October 2019. 

Dr Moore-Gilbert was arrested at Tehran Airport in September 2018 as she attempted to leave the country. 

The charges she was convicted of reportedly stemmed from the Iranian authorities’ belief that she was a spy for Israel because of her relationship with an Israeli citizen. 

Nick Warner, the head of Australia’s intelligence service, successfully negotiated a prison swap for Dr Moore-Gilbert’s freedom.

He is understood to have spent months convincing people in meetings and even at social functions to get the Thai prisoners released – who the Iranian government called ‘businessmen’. 

Australia’s ambassador to Thailand, Allan McKinnon, also lobbied with Thai officials to release three Iranian terrorists as an ­exchange for the Melbourne University lecturer.    

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk