Melbourne University lecturer Kylie Moore-Gilbert, jailed in Iran for spying, has reportedly been moved for “punishment reasons” to the harsh Qarchak prison in the desert.
The dual British-Australian national has been in Tehran’s Evin Prison since September 2018.
She denies all the espionage charges against her.
Reza Khandan, the husband of lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh – who is in Evin prison for her human rights activism – has posted on Facebook that Dr Moore-Gilbert was transferred in recent days to Qarchak women’s prison for “punishment reasons”.
Mr Khandan said Dr Moore-Gilbert was able to contact him to say the conditions at Qarchak were very bad.
“I cannot eat anything, I am very disappointed, I am so very depressed,” he reported her saying.
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Dr Moore-Gilbert told Mr Khandan she had last spoken to her family about a month ago.
Qarchak is in the desert east of Tehran and is reportedly rife with coronavirus, is very overcrowded, has poor sanitation and not enough beds for all inmates.
The jail holds political prisoners as well as those who have committed violent crimes.
In May, Dr Moore-Gilbert’s family issued a statement saying she was in “good health and she had “strongly denied reports that she has attempted suicide or that she is being tortured”.
“She seems to be in good health considering her situation. We love her and miss her. We ask that you continue to respect both Kylie’s and our privacy while we concentrate on getting her home.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also released a statement in May saying Dr Moore-Gilbert was a top priority.
“Dr Moore-Gilbert’s case is one of our highest priorities, including for our embassy officials in Tehran,” it said.
“We do not accept the charges upon which Dr Moore-Gilbert was convicted and continue all efforts to have her returned to Australia as soon as possible.”
Foreign Minister Marise Payne had repeatedly raised the case with Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif, a DFAT spokeswoman said.
Dr Moore-Gilbert, who lectured in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne, was arrested in September 2018 while at an educational conference and was later convicted of espionage.
She is understood to be serving a 10-year sentence.
DFAT has been contacted for comment on the reported prison transfer.