Woman Freed After 'Long and Traumatic' Iran Ordeal

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, 33, imprisoned in 2018 after academic conference
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 26, 2020 12:10 AM CST
Iran Releases Australian Academic
In this frame grab from Iranian state television video aired Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, is seen in Tehran, Iran.   (Iranian State Television via AP)

Australia's prime minister said he's “thrilled and relieved” after Iran released in a prisoner swap a 33-year-old academic who was imprisoned for more than two years on spying charges, but added it would take time for Kylie Moore-Gilbert to process her “horrible” ordeal. Iran first announced on state television that it had freed the British-Australian scholar in exchange for three Iranians held abroad. The report was scant on detail, saying only that the Iranians had been imprisoned for trying to bypass sanctions on Iran, the AP reports. Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australia's Network Nine he had confirmed Wednesday night that Moore-Gilbert was coming home, and spoke with her on Thursday. “The tone of her voice was very uplifting, particularly given what she has been through,” he said.

Asked about the swap, Morrison said he “wouldn't go into those details, confirm them one way or the other” but said he could assure Australians there had been nothing done to prejudice their safety and no prisoners were released in Australia. In a statement, Moore-Gilbert thanked Australia’s government and diplomats for securing her release, as well as supporters who campaigned for her freedom. She called her imprisonment "long and traumatic," per the BBC. She was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was picked up at the Tehran airport as she tried to leave the country after attending an academic conference in 2018. She was sent to Tehran's notorious Evin prison, convicted of spying and sentenced to 10 years. She had vehemently denied the charges and maintained her innocence. (More Iran stories.)

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