Human rights activists have raised concern over the wellbeing of a British-Australian academic who has been transferred to a notorious prison in the desert.
A Melbourne University lecturer, Kylie Moore-Gilbert serving a 10-year-prison sentence in Iran for espionage has been moved to a remote desert prison. According to Iranian human rights activists, the prison is notorious for violence and stricken with coronavirus.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert spent almost two years detained in Tehran`s Evin Prison where she slept on the floor according to a friend. Three days ago she was unexpectedly moved to Quarchak women`s prison in south-east Tehran.
Quarchak is one of the most hostile prisons in the country which is isolated and congested. In March, the Human Rights Activists News Agency cited acts of violence, including torture and rape, as well as inadequate medical facilities.
Describing the living conditions at the prison in a phone call the lecturer said: “I can’t eat anything. I feel so very hopeless. I am so depressed. I don’t have any phone card to call. I’ve asked the prison officers but they didn’t give me a phone card. I [was last able to] call my parents about one month ago.”
The congestion at the prison makes it impossible to implement social distancing measures and it is believed coronavirus is present in the prison hence inmates are at risk.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert said that she was an “innocent victim” and added, “I am not a spy. I have never been a spy and I have no interest in working for a spying organisation in any country. When I leave Iran, I want to be a free woman and live a free life, not under the shadow of extortion and threats.”
In an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Iran had released thousands of prisoners, but Moore-Gilbert has not been among those released.