A British-Australian professor reportedly spent 804 days in some of Iran’s most notorious prisons, originally arrested for dating an Israeli.
Dr Kylie Moore Gilbert was released from custody Thursday after the Australian government secretly arranged a complex prisoner exchange that also includes Thailand, The Age newspaper reported.
The university lecture at Tehran airport was suspended in 2018, allegedly as a spy.
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Senior government officials and diplomats now say the real reason behind Moore-Gilbert’s arrest is because Iranian officials discovered she was romantically involved with an Israeli citizen.
Dr. Moore Gilbert was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage, which she and the Australian government rejected.
Australian authorities, including Secretary of State Maris Payne, pursued a twelve-month strategy of “quiet diplomacy” and did not comment publicly on the issue due to its sensitive nature.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to discuss any details of her release, saying only that he was “relieved” because she was safe on her way back to Australia.
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“For reasons of protecting the safety of all other Australians who may find themselves in difficult situations, the practices of Australian governments have always had a lot of confidentiality around the issues,” Morrison said.
Australia’s ambassador to Thailand, Alan McKinnon, has pressured Thai officials to release three Iranian terrorists who were alleged to have conspired to kill two Israeli diplomats to exchange lectures at the University of Melbourne.
Her family said they were “relieved and ecstatic” while Moore Gilbert expressed her “love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its kind, generous and courageous people.”
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