Kylie Moore-Gilbert says it’s her ‘duty’ to stand up for ‘forgotten’ political prisoners

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dr. Moore-Gilbert was held in an Iranian prison for more than two years after she was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2018 while checking in her flight to Australia.

Convicted of espionage and sentenced to 10 years on charges of espionage, she spent 804 days behind bars, including seven months in solitary confinement. She has always denied those allegations.

In an interview with Sky News earlier this year, Dr. Moore-Gilbert recalled being beaten by guards, injected with a sedative, and said she had turned down several requests to be recruited as a spy on the condition that she be released immediately. .

British-Australian Academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert Can Be Seen On Iranian State Television.

Source: Iranian state television

When asked by SBS News about her fearlessness in speaking out about human rights violations, she replied, “I don’t see myself as brave or courageous.”

“It is my duty to express my support for my friends who are still imprisoned in Iran, and to highlight some of the many injustices I witnessed during my stay there.”

Iran has detained a growing number of foreign nationals and Iranian dual citizens in recent years, with human rights groups accusing them of using cases to obtain concessions from other countries.

dr. Moore-Gilbert said she has “regular contact” with the families of several of her friends who are in prison and some political prisoners who have since been released.

“Some have a hard time because they feel abandoned and forgotten,” she said.

“It is important to continue to put pressure on the Iranian government and call for their release, not only because it could lead to their actual release, but also because it increases a prisoner’s resilience if they know that someone from outside is going to gives her fate. ”

dr. Moore-Gilbert — who was reportedly released as part of a complex prisoner-swap deal involving four countries — said the phenomenon of state hostage-taking is becoming a growing problem for Western countries.

A number of Australians are still in foreign prisons despite little evidence of any wrongdoing.

Australian engineer Robert Pether has been detained without charge in Iraq since April after he and his Egyptian colleague, Khalid Zaghloul, were arrested in Baghdad while working for engineering firm CME Consulting.

Dr.  Yang Hengjun.

Source: facebook

Australian author Dr Yang Hengjun has spent two years in a Chinese prison on charges of espionage, despite being “100 percent innocent” during a secret trial in Beijing.

Van Kham Chau was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2019 for being a member of the political party Viet Tan. He is not allowed to speak directly to his family in Australia and all letters he writes to them are read aloud, according to the Vietnamese authorities. Amnesty International.

“The sad reality is that there are many Australians being held abroad, and at the moment there is little to no cooperation between allies on this global issue, each country is essentially reinventing the wheel and going it alone,” said Dr. Moore Gilbert.

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dr. Moore-Gilbert said that while she remains grateful to the government for its efforts to secure her release, her initial tactic of quiet diplomacy was flawed.

Her case came to the fore after two other Australians, Mark Firkin and Jolie King, were detained “for flying a drone near the capital Tehran” nearly a year after her arrest. Both were released in 2019 after three months in prison.

“The Australian government eventually did some very impressive diplomatic acrobatics to get me out, and for that I will always be grateful,” said Dr. Moore-Gilbert to SBS News.

“I have long maintained that it was a mistake to hide my plight for so long, and that media and a public campaign played an important role in securing my release.”

Asked to comment on Dr. Moore-Gilbert’s comments at the time, a spokesperson for the Department of State and Commerce said it was “delighted that Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert returned to Australia last November after more than two years of detention in Iran”.

“Each consular case is inherently complex and is considered individually, with a strategy developed on a case-by-case basis. We will not comment on the circumstances of her release.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also commented on Dr Moore-Gilbert’s case in March this year, telling reporters: “I know she is very grateful for all the work done by the government and officials”.

“Kylie Moore-Gilbert clearly cannot have been aware of all the things the government has been involved in to ensure her release over a long period of time and of the many other matters that went on during that period,” said Mr Morrison. .

“There will be opinions on this matter, but what I know is that at all times…our consular matter with the highest priority was getting Kylie home.”

dr. Moore-Gilbert is now part of international efforts to implement the Magnitsky laws.

The Senate on Wednesday introduced Magnitsky-esque laws that, if passed, would allow governments to impose sanctions on individuals abroad who commit human rights abuses.

“I have an interest in an Australian Magnitsky act, as it would of course allow me to file an application to apprehend some of the individuals involved in my wrongful detention and human rights violations in prison by my own country to be punished,” she said.

“The prospects for using Magnitsky laws to prosecute human rights abusers in a number of countries, including Iran and other countries that arbitrarily detain Australians, are promising and I hope Parliament will pass an Australian Magnitsky law before the next election. ”

dr. Moore-Gilbert said the Canada-led declaration against arbitrary detention, which Australia signed earlier this year, was “a symbolic first step”.

“However, there is a clear need for a more robust mechanism, whether enshrined in international law or in the form of an alliance of like-minded nations, to punish and deter state hostage-taking,” she said.

“Certainly more can be done, and it would make sense for Australia, as a middle power, to join forces with other Western countries to pool their influence and tackle this problem as a collective.”

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