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AFP
July 31, 2020

Australia accused of failing scholar jailed in Iran

World

AFP
July 31, 2020

SYDNEY: Friends of a British-Australian academic jailed in Iran on spying charges launched a public campaign to win her freedom on Thursday, saying that Australia’s strategy of quiet diplomacy had failed.

Nearly two years after Kylie Moore-Gilbert was detained while trying to leave Iran, a group of friends and colleagues are demanding that Canberra do more to resolve the situation. The "Free Kylie" group said it had respected the Australian foreign ministry’s guidance to "remain quiet" and allow diplomats to do their work.

"But we believe that this strategy on its own has failed," they said, adding the policy had made "little headway in improving her day-to-day living conditions, let alone securing her release".

Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, is serving a 10-year sentence for spying, a charge she has strenuously denied. This week she was moved from a jail in Tehran to a notorious women’s prison in an old chicken-processing factory outside the capital.

Blacklisted under US human rights sanctions, Qarchak prison has become a byword for the ill-treatment of political prisoners and is described as filthy and coronavirus-ridden by non-governmental groups.