Iran has released Kylie Moore-Gilbert, the British-Australian academic who has been detained in the country for over two years on espionage charges, in exchange for three Iranian prisoners who were being held abroad, according to Iranian state media.
A video released on Wednesday evening by Iran’s state broadcaster shows Ms Moore-Gilbert entering a van with her belongings, as well as the three Iranian men, who she has reportedly been exchanged for, being celebrated upon their return to the country.
Iranian state TV said the three men were “economic activists” who had been detained for trying to bypass sanctions.
It was not immediately clear when Ms Moore-Gilbert would arrive back in Australia.
The Cambridge-educated Islamic studies lecturer was arrested for espionage after attending a conference in Qom in 2018 and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in a secret trial. She went on hunger strike last December after losing an appeal.
Most of the first two years of her detention were spent in the notorious Evin prison before she was moved in August to the desert prison of Qarchak, one of the most dangerous women’s institutions in the country. Her release comes exactly one month after she was reported to have been relocated again to an unknown location.
Friends and analysts believed that Ms Moore-Gilbert had been moved back to Evin prison into a ward that was controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
The group Human Rights Activists in Iran, who first reported her move out of Qarchak prison last month, told The Telegraph at the time that their pre-analysis suggested her relocation could be the first stages of prisoner exchange.
Foreign prisoners are rarely released from public wards, but sent to a private ward for the exchange of prisoners to begin, the group said.
In letters that were smuggled out of Evin prison earlier this year, Ms Moore-Gilbert said she had turned down an offer to spy for the Iranian government in return for a reduced sentence.
The Australian government has maintained throughout her imprisonment that her charges were politically motivated.
Ms Moore-Gilbert, a Melbourne University professor, has strongly denied the charges throughout.
Original News : https://news.yahoo.com/iran-swaps-jailed-british-australian-154251159.html