Iran says British-Australian academic Kylie Moore freed in prisoner swap deal

Iran releases British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert in prisoner swap deal

Iran has released a British-Australian academic who had been detained in Iran in exchange for three Iranians who were held in another country, according to Iranian state TV.

Iranian state media is reporting the Melbourne University lecturer's been released as part of a prisoner swap. This summer she was temporarily transferred from Iran's notorious Evin prison to another feared facility, the Qarchak women's prison, amid concerns over coronavirus outbreaks in overcrowded jails.

She was tried in secret and strongly denied all the charges against her.

Human rights groups accused Iran of holding Moore-Gilbert - in addition to at least half a dozen other foreign nationals and dual citizens - as a bargaining chips.

It was not immediately clear when Ms Moore-Gilbert would arrive back in Australia.

Iranian state TV shows Kylie Moore-Gilbert with a grey hijab sitting at what appears to be a greeting room at one of Tehran's airports.

Her detention has further strained relations between Iran and the West, which reached a fever pitch earlier this year following the American killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad and retaliatory Iranian strikes on a USA military base.

She wore a blue face mask under her chin.

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. She has gone on repeated hunger strikes and her health has deteriorated during long stretches in solitary confinement.

Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International UK, called the news of Moore-Gilbert's release "an enormous relief" and suggested there may be reason for optimism about detainees. The report called Moore-Gilbert "a Zionist spy".



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