British-Australian scholar Kylie Moore-Gilbert spoke for the first time after spending two years in prison in Iran.
She was released in exchange for three Iranians held abroad, Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported today.
"I would like to thank the Australian government, and in particular the Australian Foreign Office and Embassy in Tehran, who have worked tirelessly over the past two years and three months on my release," she said in a statement.
“Many thanks also to everyone who supported me and stood up for my freedom. It meant the world to me to have you behind me during a long and traumatic ordeal.
“I have nothing but respect, love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its warm, generous and courageous people.
Iran freed Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured), a British-Australian academic who has been detained in Iran for more than two years, in exchange for three Iranians held abroad
The Iranian state broadcaster IRIB today released recordings of Moore-Gilbert in Tehran, Iran and reported that she had been released
“I am leaving this country with bittersweet feelings despite the injustices I have faced.
"I came to Iran as a friend with kind intentions and I leave Iran with these feelings that are not only intact but also strengthened."
Moore-Gilbert was a lecturer in Middle East Studies at Melbourne University when she was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran and sentenced to 10 years in prison in September 2018.
After 22 months, she was taken to the infamous Qarchak Prison, widely considered to be the worst women's prison in Iran.
The IRIB did not provide any details other than saying that the three Iranians released in barter had been arrested for trying to circumvent the sanctions.
She is one of several Westerners detained in Iran for internationally criticized espionage allegations that her families and rights groups believe are unfounded.
It was not immediately clear when Moore-Gilbert would return to Australia.
State television broadcast a video in which she was sitting in a gray hijab in what appeared to be a greeting room at one of the airports in Tehran. She wore a blue face mask under her chin.
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “We have always been extremely concerned that Kylie has been detained for exercising her right to freedom of expression, including her work as an academic, and it is a tremendous relief to see her release Listen.
"There can now be renewed hope that British-Iranian dual nationals like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori will also be released from their unfair sentences in Iran in the coming days or weeks."
"We want the UK government to pull out all the stops to pressure the Iranian authorities to end the judicial charade that held Nazanin and Anoosheh for so long."
State television broadcast a video showing Moore-Gilbert in a gray hijab sitting in what appears to be a welcoming room at one of Tehran's airports
The footage showed three men with Iranian flags over their shoulders, who were released in exchange for their release
Iranian state television footage also showed the three men who were released in exchange for their release with Iranian flags over their shoulders.
State television used to refer to them as "economic activists" without going into detail.
A website affiliated with state television had previously announced that an Iranian businessman and two Iranian citizens who had been detained overseas "on unfounded charges" had been exchanged.
The Young Journalist Club said they were arrested for trying to evade US sanctions imposed on Iran in 2018 when Washington abandoned Iran's six-power nuclear deal.
International pressure on Iran to obtain her release has increased in recent months after reports that her health deteriorated during prolonged solitary confinement and she was taken to the infamous Qarchak Prison east of Tehran.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert (picture 2017), a researcher at the University of Melbourne in the Middle East, is one of several Westerners detained in Iran for internationally criticized espionage allegations that their families and rights groups consider to be unfounded
Moore-Gilbert has been on hunger strike and has asked the Australian government to do more to free them.
These pleas included the letter to the Prime Minister alleging that she had been subjected to "serious violations" of her rights, including psychological torture and solitary confinement.
She was transferred from Elvin Prison to the infamous Qarchak Prison after 22 months, widely considered to be the worst women's prison in Iran.
Last month, after long solitary confinement and poor health, she was taken to an unknown location, The Guardian reported.
Moore-Gilbert was transferred from Elvin Prison to the infamous Qarchak Prison after 22 months, widely considered to be the worst women's prison in Iran
Australian director of Human Rights Watch Elaine Pearson said at the time, “Of course, it's hoped the move could be good news for Kylie, but we don't know yet.
"Kylie has been incarcerated for more than two years and has experienced very difficult conditions including extreme isolation."
Ms. Moore-Gilbert was closely watched in Qarchak to ensure that she could not contact the outside world.
In a series of letters smuggled out of prison by the Australian ambassador to Iran, Lyndall Sachs, the inmate revealed that she had been given the opportunity to spy on Tehran's behalf in exchange for her freedom – an offer she refused .
& # 39; I feel so very hopeless. I'm so depressed, ”she said on a phone call.
Ms. Moore-Gilbert was closely watched in Qarchak to ensure that she could not contact the outside world
People attending the Qom conference in 2018 said she was "suspected" by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which were deployed to defend the nation's political system, who arrested them at the airport on their way back to Australia.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert attended All Saints College in her regional hometown before traveling to the UK as a Middle Eastern student at Cambridge.
As a member of the Cambridge Union, she met the guest speaker of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in 2011.
Friends told of an intelligent and caring young woman with a strong sense of justice who lived for her work as an expert on Middle Eastern affairs.
Her imprisonment had further strained Iran-West relations, which peaked earlier this year after the assassination of a top Iranian general in Baghdad and Iranian retaliatory attacks on a US military base.
There was no immediate comment from the UK Foreign Office.
The infamous QARCHAK PRISON of IRAN
The Qarchak women's prison is located in a barren desert east of Tehran and, despite its small size, houses a large number of inmates.
It is known to be the most dangerous in the nation due to its inhumane medical and psychological conditions.
The Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) released a detailed report on the prison, where it had the worst reputation among women's prisons in Iran.
According to the report, there are more than 2,000 prisoners in the seven sections of the prison, each holding 200 to 300 prisoners.
There are no rooms in the prison, but there is a 600-bed hall. The other 1,400 prisoners and some children have to sleep on the floor.
The prison does not divide inmates according to the crimes committed that lead to violence.
According to the report, inmates are subjected to all forms of torture, including rape.
The prison authorities insult and beat prisoners and cause and exacerbate mental health problems.
Management punishes inmates who protest the prison's conditions, such as poor quality food or lack of medical services, by sending them into solitary confinement with another mentally ill inmate to torture them.
Captives are usually served spaghetti, boiled potatoes, and bread. As a result, many prisoners suffer from severe vitamin deficiencies.
Source: Alarabiya News
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