British-Australian academic has repeatedly attempted suicide in Iranian jail -rights group

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert speaks during an interview from 2017. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 May 2020

British-Australian academic has repeatedly attempted suicide in Iranian jail -rights group

  • Academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert as been detained in Iran since September 2018
  • She's being held in solitary confinement in a two to three meter cell in the Evin prison

British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert has repeatedly attempted suicide while detained in Iran, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), a New York-based advocacy group, said on Thursday.
Moore-Gilbert, a specialist in Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne, has been detained in Iran since September, 2018, the statement said.
British and Australian media have reported that she has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by Iranian authorities.
The Iranian judiciary could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Kylie’s cries for help are so loud and desperate that even the walls of one of Iran’s most notorious prisons can’t silence them,” CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi said in a statement.
“The Australian government should heed her pleas and immediately facilitate her access to basic rights that the Iranian government has been denying her for nearly two years, and immediately get her back home where she belongs.”
Moore-Gilbert is being held in solitary confinement in a two to three meter cell with a toilet in the Evin prison in Tehran, Reza Khandan, an activist and husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, an activist lawyer currently imprisoned in Iran, told CHRI.
Moore-Gilbert is forced to wear a blindfold anytime she is taken out of the cell, Khandan told CHRI.
Iran has stepped up detentions of foreign and dual nationals amid a protracted standoff with Western powers, after the United States withdrew from an international agreement to curb Iranian nuclear activities and reimposed sanctions on Tehran in 2018.
Separately, journalist and film maker Mohammad Nourizad attempted suicide in a prison in Mashhad, his wife Fatemeh Maleki said in an interview with BBC Persian on May 2.
Nourizad was under pressure because authorities would not give him furlough, transfer him to a prison closer to his home or allow him regular phone calls, Maleki said in the interview.
Nourizad was imprisoned last year for signing an open letter, along with 13 others, calling on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, to resign.


Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

Updated 29 May 2020

Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

  • Intelligence, immigration officials investigating illegal facilities that catered mostly to foreigners

MANILA: The Philippines has intensified its crackdown on uncertified medical facilities offering treatment to people, particularly foreigners, with COVID-19 symptoms.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to help the Philippine National Police (PNP) track down foreign nationals behind the illegal clinics.
“It seems that clandestine medical clinics catering mostly to foreign nationals have sprouted and have been operating without proper authority,” Guevarra told reporters.
He said the facilities could have compromised the health of those who had undergone treatment.
“I’ll therefore ask the NBI and the BI to help the police in locating other similar underground clinics and the people running them, and if warranted, to file the appropriate charges against them,” he added.
Guevarra issued the order following a raid on Tuesday on an illegal clinic catering to Chinese patients in Makati City. Arrested in the operation were Chinese nationals Dr. David Lai, 49, and Liao Bruce, 41.
The clinic was reportedly operating without a permit, while the arrested did not have a license to practice medicine in the country.
Seized from the site were swab sticks, vials, syringes and boxes of medicine with Chinese labels — believed to be unregistered with the Food and Drug Administration.
Last week, law enforcers also swooped on a makeshift hospital for Chinese patients in the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga province.
The raid came after police received information that a COVID-19 patient was “undergoing medical attention” in a Fontana villa.
Arrested during the raid were Chinese nationals Liu Wei, who reportedly supervised the facility, and Hu Shiling, allegedly a pharmacist. Both were released on the same day without charge.
Immigration officials on Thursday said the duo had been placed on their watch list to prevent them from leaving the country while an investigation is underway.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said intelligence operatives will trace four of the patients, and are looking into the case of the Chinese nationals arrested in Makati.
“I’ve instructed our intelligence division to investigate if these alleged Chinese doctors are legally staying in the country,” he said.
“Should we find they violated our immigration laws, they’ll be charged with deportation cases before our law and investigation division,” he added.
“Even if no criminal charges were filed against them, they can be charged for immigration law violations if we can establish that they violated the conditions of their stay in the country.”
If criminal charges are filed, however, the BI will only deport them after their cases have been resolved or they have served their sentences, if convicted.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for the “immediate deportation and blacklisting” of the Chinese nationals because of their “blatant disregard of our laws.”
She added that while the Philippines is working hard to protect its people from the virus, “these criminals freely roam and pose a danger to public health.”