Jailed Aussie facing ‘another kind of hell’ in Iran
Australian academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert is in "another kind of hell" after her colleague was released from solitary confinement in Iran's brutal Evin prison while she languishes there.
The French Government was able to organise for their national Fariba Adelkhah to be released into the prison's general population after the pair started a hunger strike on Christmas Eve.
Australian authorities have been unable to get Dr Moore-Gilbert out of her three metre by two metre cell as she approaches the record for the longest female prisoner kept in solitary.
"That would be just another kind of hell, it's really been brutal," a source said.
"Fariba was transferred to the normal ward but she has still not broken her hunger strike in solidarity with Kylie."
The source added: "Kylie is very defiant" but warned that the time in unit 2a of Evin prison was at risk of breaking her spirit.
The US attack on Iran's top commander Qassem Soleimani has raised questions about whether Iran would extend foreign prisoners' sentences in retribution.
News Corp Australia first reported last month that Dr Moore-Gilbert had lost her appeal against a 10-year sentence for spying and that she and Ms Adelkhah, a French academic, were going on a hunger strike.
We can now reveal the former student of All Saints' College in Bathurst, NSW, and University of Melbourne Islamic studies expert, has broken her hunger strike.
However, fears remain for her health, while Ms Adelkhah was of a dangerously low weight, sources said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), when asked questions about why Dr Moore-Gilbert is in solitary confinement 16 months after her arrest in October 2018, said the case was one of its highest priorities.
"Australia does not accept the charges upon which Dr Moore-Gilbert was convicted and continues all efforts to have her returned to Australia as soon as possible," a DFAT spokesperson said.
"We most recently visited Dr Moore-Gilbert in prison on 17 December, and have been providing consular support to her family since September 2018.
"The Foreign Minister has repeatedly raised the case with her Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Zarif, including in face-to-face meetings."
Ms Adelkhah, a French Academic from the University of Sciences Po who signed a joint letter detailing their Christmas Eve hunger strike, was moved out of solitary confinement in the past week.
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert pleaded with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to get her out for Christmas in a letter released by News Corp Australia.
She has been unable to contact her family for months at a time and has only had a three-minute phone call with her father following previous hunger strikes.
Dr Moore-Gilbert has spent most of her time inside jail in a tiny cell with only three blankets to be used as a bed, a pillow and for warmth.
The unit, under the control of Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guard, does not have access to television or any form of news from the outside world.
Dr Moore-Gilbert had received medical treatment days after she started her hunger strike.
"Kylie was so scared," a second source said.
"She has ended her hunger strike but was very desolate."
Dr Moore-Gilbert was picked up after she attended a conference at the University of Qom, where an Iranian colleague alerted authorities to her presence.
She was arrested at the airport after she had checked into a flight home to Australia.
The University of Melbourne has not responded to questions about whether it sanctioned the trip.
Dr Moore-Gilbert was dux of All Saints' College and her art work was exhibited at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2006 following her final year of school.
"My work is an exploration of the individual's sense of inner conflict and turmoil, and the mechanisms we use to maintain order in the midst of external chaos, itself often a product of our own decisions and judgments," she wrote in a statement explaining her work on the art gallery's website.
"I became intrigued by the myriad of textural effects afforded by the mediums of printing and fibres, and relied heavily on my own symbolism and the subjective frame to convey a glimpse of what became a very personal battle against the often restrictive, chaotic emotional landscape of HSC existence."
Tehran said last month it would not give into "political and smear campaigns" following News Corp Australia's reports of Dr Moore-Gilbert's letters.
In a plea to Mr Morrison last month, she wrote: "Please I beg of you to do whatever it takes to get me out."