Aussie professor detained in Iran

Australia

A University of Melbourne lecturer has been named as the third Australian being held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert has reportedly been held there for a year in solitary confinement, according to a London-based Persian language television outlet, Manoto TV.

The station’s editor in chief, Pouria Zeraati, tweeted about it on Saturday morning.

“She was arrested in summer 2018 & currently serving 10 years’ jail sentence based on unknown charges, issued by Islamic Republic judiciary,” he wrote on Twitter.

RELATED: Inside Evin Prison, the Iranian jail where three Australians are being held

Kylie Moore-Gilbert.
media_cameraKylie Moore-Gilbert.

In a statement issued via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) this afternoon, the family of Dr Moore-Gilbert asked for privacy.

“We have been and continue to be in close contact with the Australian Government,” the statement read.

“Our family thanks the Government and the University of Melbourne for their ongoing support at this distressing and sensitive time.

“We will not be making any further comment and would like to request that our privacy — and that of our wider family and friends — is respected at this time.”

In a statement, the University of Melbourne also said it “has been and will continue to be in close contact with the Australian Government and Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert’s family”.

The uni repeated the family’s comment that “the best chance of securing Kylie’s safe return is through diplomatic channels”.

The University of Melbourne’s website lists Dr Moore-Gilbert as an expert in Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern History, and Middle Eastern Studies. Picture: University of Melbourne.
media_cameraThe University of Melbourne’s website lists Dr Moore-Gilbert as an expert in Islamic Studies, Middle Eastern History, and Middle Eastern Studies. Picture: University of Melbourne.

Along with Dr. Moore-Gilbert, two other Aussies are also being held in Iran.

Earlier this week, there were fears that Perth couple Jolie King and Mark Firkin — two Australian travel bloggers detained in Tehran — could be used as bargaining chips in a prisoner swap.

The woman Iran reportedly wants in exchange is 40-year-old Negar Ghodskani, who was arrested in Australia in 2017 for attempting to dodge US sanctions and “illegally export controlled technology” to Iran.

Along with Dr Moore-Gilbert, Ms King and Mr Firkin are thought to have been taken to Evin prison in Iran’s capital Tehran, a jail notorious for its inhumane treatment and reports of torture.

Ms King and Mr Firkin were arrested in July while travelling through the Iranian capital on their personal mission to “break the stigma around travelling to countries that get a bad wrap”.

Their followers began to worry the couple were in trouble once they failed to check in on social media. Comments asking if they were OK began to pile up.

“GUYS WHERE ARE YOU ITS BEEN A MONTH — R U OKAY???,” wrote one follower.

Another said: “You guys OK? It’s been a while!”

It’s been weeks since their last upload, their most recent Instagram post shared June 26.

Jolie King and Mark Firkin.
media_cameraJolie King and Mark Firkin.

The Instagram couple were reportedly detained for flying a drone they use to film their travels without a licence.

In Iran, failure to obtain a permit before using a drone is punishable by six months in jail, followed by immediate deportation.

“ (DFAT) is providing consular assistance to the families of three Australians detained in Iran,” a DFAT spokesman said.

The couple’s social media followers were among the first to realise the pair had been MIA. Picture: Supplied. Source: Instagram
media_cameraThe couple’s social media followers were among the first to realise the pair had been MIA. Picture: Supplied. Source: Instagram

DFAT’s SmartTraveller website is urging Australians to “reconsider your need to travel, due to the risk that foreigners including Australians could be arbitrarily detained or arrested” in Iran.

Originally published as Aussie professor detained in Iran

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