Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been in prison in Iran for almost two years. The lecturer at the University of Melbourne was arrested after attending a scientific conference in Tehran Airport in September 2018. In a subsequent closed trial, she was sentenced to ten years in prison for espionage. It is still unclear what the Iranian authorities actually accuse her of.
So far, Moore-Gilbert has been interned in a prison in Tehran. As several British and Australian media, including the Guardian, reported today, she has now been transferred to the infamous Ghartschak prison. The isolated and crowded detention center is considered one of the worst prisons in the country.
Just last month, the US State Department listed Ghartchak as an organization responsible for „extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.“ In addition, there have recently been reports of an outbreak of the corona virus in the prison.
Place to „break“ prisoners
Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian journalist Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016, described Ghartchak as a place where „the authorities send female political prisoners to break them,“ according to the BBC.
In January Moore-Gilbert’s letters became known, which she addressed to official Iranian offices. In it, the Australian alleges that Iran tried to recruit her as an agent and in return promised her her release. But she refused.
In a recent phone call to Resa Chandan, husband of detained human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, Moore-Gilbert said she felt hopeless, isolated, and depressed. The last time she called her parents was a month ago.