Home World Australia ‘Fortitude and strength’: Praise for Kylie Moore-Gilbert after two years of prison

‘Fortitude and strength’: Praise for Kylie Moore-Gilbert after two years of prison
‘Fortitude and strength’: Praise for Kylie Moore-Gilbert after two years of prison avatar

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The family of an Australian woman jailed in Iran have praised her "fortitude and strength" ahead of the two-year anniversary of her imprisonment.

University of Melbourne lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert was last month moved from Evin Prison in the capital, Tehran, to Qarchak women's prison in the middle of the desert.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been particularly harshly treated, Human Rights Watch says. Credit:

In a statement released through the Australian government, Dr Moore-Gilbert's family said this Sunday "marks two years of unimaginable pain for our family".

"We love Kylie very much and we remain strong and far from losing hope. For those who also know and love Kylie, they will recognise her fortitude and strength. We know this strength remains with her throughout this ordeal," the family said.

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"We thank the Federal Government for its continued and persistent efforts to bring Kylie home, and we thank the Australian public for their continued support and concern.

"We all want the same thing, which is Kylie’s safe return soon. We are very grateful for the privacy that has been shown to our family and hope that it continues."

The Cambridge-educated academic was sentenced to 10 years prison in a secret trial on espionage charges, which are rejected by the Australian government.

Dr Moore-Gilbert, who most recently worked as a lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne, was arrested in September 2018 while at an educational conference. She has denied all charges against her.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the government's thoughts were with Dr Moore-Gilbert and her family on the second anniversary of her detention in Iran.

"The government’s efforts to secure Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release are an absolute priority and continue without pause," she said.

"We do not accept the charges upon which Dr Moore-Gilbert was convicted, and want to see her returned to Australia as soon as possible.

"We continue to seek regular consular access to Dr Moore-Gilbert. While we work hard to bring her home, our utmost priority is on her health, wellbeing and safety.

"The government believes the best approach to secure Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release is through diplomatic channels."

The University of Melbourne said the plight of Dr Moore-Gilbert was unimaginable and deeply distressing to her family, colleagues and friends.

“Kylie is always in our thoughts and we wish she could be at home with her family, friends and University colleagues," the university's vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell said.

“On the second anniversary of her detention, the university remains in close contact with the Government, DFAT, her family and colleagues and offers every support during this incredibly difficult time.

“Kylie’s health, safety and freedom is our absolute priority."

In letters previously smuggled out of prison, Dr Moore-Gilbert has described being shown two conflicting sentences: one outlining 13 months' imprisonment if she worked as a spy and the other a decade-long term.

In a letter to her "case manager", Dr Moore-Gilbert wrote: "Please accept this letter as an official and definitive rejection of your offer to me to work with the intelligence branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps."

Anthony is foreign affairs and national security correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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