Moore-Gilbert, who is a lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne, was attending a conference in Iran in 2018 when she was arrested at Tehran Airport by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
After being reported as "suspicious" by a fellow academic and conference attendee, as well as by a subject she interviewed for her research, authorities believed she was a 'spy' and she was subsequently tried and sentenced to ten years in prison for espionage. According to reports, the authorities tried to recruit the lecturer as a spy in exchange for her release—an offer she declined.
Upon the news, which mad headlines, globally, the Australian government dismissed the charges as "baseless and politically motivated."
Now, in her third year in prison, the 33-year-old has finally been released as part of a prison swap deal that saw three Iranian citizens, who had been jailed abroad, freed from their respective sentences. No further details on the Iranians has been made public other than State TV describing them as 'economic activists'.
After 22 months at Tehran's Evin Prison, she spent the last few gruelling months of her sentence at Gharchak Women's Prison—widely regarded as the worst women's prison in Iran—before being transferred back to Evin on the 29th of October, 2020.
Amnesty International Director, Kate Allen, expressed her relief over the events. "We were always extremely concerned that Kylie was imprisoned solely for exercising her right to freedom of expression—including through her work as an academic—and it’s an enormous relief to hear of her release," she said, adding that this has provided hope that others like Moore-Gilbert will also be released soon.
"There may now be renewed grounds for hoping that UK-Iranian dual-nationals like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori will also be released from their unjust jail terms in Iran in the coming days or weeks."
Moore-Gilbert had previously endeavoured a hunger strike and constant pleas for the Australian government to do more to help her gain her freedom back.
It has not been made clear when she will return to Australia.
For the full story on what happened to Kylie Moore-Gilbert, head here.