NEWS
29/07/2020 5:00 PM AEST

British-Australian Academic Moved To 'Notorious' Iran Jail

Kylie Moore-Gilbert has reportedly been moved to Qarchak prison in the desert for "punishment"

PA Media
Kylie Moore-Gilbert

A British-Australian academic who has been detained in Iran has been moved to a desert prison notorious for its poor conditions, a group of activists said.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Cambridge-educated academic who was most recently a lecturer in Islamic Studies at Melbourne University, had previously been held in Tehran’s Evin prison, having reportedly been given a 10-year sentence.

She has previously published work on the 2011 Arab uprisings and on authoritarian governments.

The Centre for Supporters of Human Rights said Moore-Gilbert has been moved to Qarchak prison, citing information from Reza Khandan whose wife – human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh – is imprisoned in Evin.

Other Britons who have been imprisoned in Evin include Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – who has served four years of a five-year sentence over allegations of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

In a Facebook post, Khandan said Moore-Gilbert was moved for “punishment”.

The jail is sometimes used as punishment for Iranian political prisoners, according to the BBC. Former inmates have described conditions as “abysmal”.

Letters smuggled out of prison and published in January revealed the lecturer’s fears for her mental health.

She said: “I’m taking psychiatric medications, but these 10 months that I have spent here have gravely damaged my mental health.

“I am still denied phone calls and visitations, and I am afraid that my mental and emotional state may further deteriorate if I remain in this extremely restrictive detention ward.”

Moore-Gilbert also appeared to suggest she had been offered the chance to become a spy.

“I am not a spy. I have never been a spy and I have no interest to work for a spying organisation in any country,” she wrote.