UPDATED, AUGUST 1:
Iran’s judiciary has justified the transfer of Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert to a prison noted for inhumane conditions, insisting that reports of her poor health are “media hype“.
The Mizan news agency, linked to the judiciary, asserted, “Following publication of a claim…of Moore-Gilbert’s unfavorable physical condition, Mizan’s correspondent is informed that the prisoner is in perfect health.”
The agency rejected multiple reports of suicide attempts by detainees in Qarchak Prison.
The Australian Ambassador to Iran plans to meet the political prisoner on Sunday.
A spokesman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Moore-Gilbert’s transfer to Qarchak: “We hold Iran responsible for Dr Moore-Gilbert’s safety and well-being.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JULY 29: Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been transferred from Tehran’s Evin Prison to Qarchak Prison, notorious for harsh conditions.
Moore-Gilbert (pictured), a lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne, was seized in September 2018 while Iran to take part in a university program on Islam for foreign academics. She has been given a 10-year sentence for “espionage”.
Her transfer was announced by fellow political prisoner and human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, in a Facebook post via Sotoudeh’s husband Reza Khandan.
Sotoudeh said Moore-Gilbert called to tell her about the “punishment” transfer to Qarchak, which is a main prison for those committing murder and drug-related offenses. The lawyer said there are many Coronavirus patients in the facility.
Moore-Gilbert said in the call, “I can’t eat anything. I don’t know. I’m so disappointed… I’m so very depressed.”
Sotoudeh did not mention why the lecturer was being punished, but last December Moore-Gilbert and French academic Fariba Adelkhah went on hunger strike to protest the imprisonment of political detainees.
Adelkhah is still in Evin Prison, with a five-year sentence confirmed in late June. Her partner and fellow academic at Paris’s Sciences Po University, Roland Marchal, was freed in a prisoner swap in March.
In January, Moore-Gilbert wrote, in letters smuggled out of prison, that she endured 10 months in solitary confinement which “gravely damaged” her health. She said she was offered a reduced sentence if she agreed to spy for the Revolutionary Guards.
There is concern over reports that the academic has tried three times to kill herself.