The family of University of Melbourne lecturer Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert is leaning on the Australian government to save her from a 10-year jail sentence in Iran’s Evin prison.
Dr Moore-Gilbert was officially identified on Saturday as the third Australian being held in the notorious prison, along with Perth couple Jolie King and Mark Firkin.
The academic has reportedly been kept in solitary confinement since 2018.
She has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison on unspecified charges, the editor of Persian language broadcaster Manoto TV, Pouria Zeraati, has reported.
She was arrested in summer 2018 & currently serving 10 years jail sentence based on unknown charges, issued by Islamic Republic judiciary.
Dr Moore-Gilbert reportedly being held in solitary confinement.
— Pouria Zeraati (@pouriazeraati) September 14, 2019
The release of Dr Moore-Gilbert’s identity follows the recent arrest and detention of Ms King and Mr Firkin, who were locked up by Iranian authorities after allegedly flying a drone too close to a military compound.
The hellish prison is known for its medieval torture methods and hangings of political dissidents.
In a statement issued via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dr Moore-Gilbert’s family said they had been working closely with the Australian Government in an effort to negotiate her return.
The family thanked the government and the University of Melbourne for their “ongoing support at this distressing and sensitive time”.
“We believe that the best chance of securing Kylie’s safe return is through diplomatic channels,” the family said in a statement.
“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.”
Prior to Dr Moore-Gilbert’s arrest, the Cambridge-educated Australian-British national had been lecturing in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute.
A respected doctoral researcher, Dr Moore-Gilbert shared her expertise with the The New Daily in 2017 about Qatar’s diplomatic crisis in the gulf.
She could now be joined in prison by Perth travel bloggers Ms King and Mr Firkin, who were arrested in July while travelling through Iran on their mission to “break the stigma around travelling to countries that get a bad rap”.
A fellow inmate of Ms King’s, British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, said the Australian Instagram blogger had a “really fun sense of humour”, according to The Times.
Ms King was terrified when she was moved into a communal ward with other prisoners and was “very unsure of everyone and scared from her experience in solitary” confinement, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe reportedly told her British husband, Richard Ratcliffe, in a phone call from prison.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 41-year-old mother detained since 2016 on spying charges, said Ms King admitted her time in solitary confinement had left her feeling “scared, disoriented and intimidated”.
Manoto TV‘s Mr Zeraati said Ms King and Mr Firkin were unlikely to get bail while awaiting trial and were in the process of finding a lawyer.