Jailed Aussie academic transferred to desert prison
Jailed Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who is serving a 10-year sentence in Iran for spying, has been transferred to a notorious prison in the desert.
Dr Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne, has been moved to Qarchak prison, a harsh facility in the desert where conditions are described as abysmal.
The academic has been transferred to the prison, which houses Iranian political prisoners, "as punishment", Iranian human rights activist Reza Khandan said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed Dr Moore-Gilbert had been moved and said her case was one of the Australian Government's highest priorities.
"The Iranian Government has told us that Dr Moore-Gilbert has been moved from Evin to Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran," a spokesperson for DFAT said.
"We are urgently seeking further consular access to her at this new location."
The DFAT statement said Australia's ambassador to Tehran had recently visited the academic at Evin Prison and the lecturer had been in telephone contact with her family.
Dr Moore-Gilbert already spent two years in solitary confinement 2a at Evin, where she slept on the floor of her cell.
She strongly denies all the charges against her. The Islamic Studies expert marked her 33rd birthday in jail last May.
In a call with Mr Khandan earlier this week, the dual British-Australian national said: "I can't eat anything … I don't know … I'm so disappointed … I'm so very … depressed …"
Dr Moore-Gilbert was detained at Tehran airport in 2018 as she tried to leave following a conference while travelling on an Australian passport.
She has been kept under difficult conditions and endured months where she was not able to speak with her family, which led her to go on at least five hunger strikes.
The University of Cambridge graduate was also denied access to lawyers, according to letters she wrote from inside the prison that were leaked to News Corp Australia in January.
Dr Moore-Gilbert's family released a rare statement in May, where they said they loved her and missed her.
Originally published as Jailed Aussie academic transferred to desert prison