Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, lecturer at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Studies Institute, was arrested in Iran and charged with espionage. She has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
This week it was revealed that a British-Australian academic who had been teaching at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute in Australia was arrested in Iran in October of 2018 , tried allegedly for espionage, and sentenced to 10 years in prison (Iranian officials deny that she has been tried, but others close to her report that she has been both tried and sentenced).
Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert has written extensively about revolutions and activism in the Middle East with a particular focus on Shia Islam, Bahraini politics and protest movements there. She has published journal articles, with her most recent on Bahrain’s pro-democracy youth movement. She has posted material online in opposition to Bahrain’s crackdown during the post-Arab Spring.
When Dr. Moore-Gilbert was arrested she had a grant to research Iran’s relationship with Bahrain’s Shia after the Arab uprisings. The grant was part of Melbourne University’s early career researcher grants program.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert has been held for almost one year in Tehran’s Evin Prison which is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Her family has been in close contact with the Australian consulate and the consulate staff has been in touch with the Iranians. The Australian Foreign Minister reports that as recently as last week she had been in touch with her counterpart Javad Zarif.
Everyone from her university counterparts, to her friends and people that know her professionally find her participation in espionage impossible to believe. When interviewed, everyone noted that it was totally out of character for her.
The Committee of Concerned Scientists urges the Iranian government to release Dr. Moore-Gilbert as quickly as possible, dismiss the case and allow her to continue with her work. We also urge other academics to write in her behalf advocating for her immediate release.