British Australian academic’s every movement monitored in Iranian prison

British Australian academic’s every movement monitored in Iranian prison
A British Australian academic, who is being held in an isolated Iranian prison, is being closely monitored everywhere she goes. (File/AP)
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Updated 03 September 2020

British Australian academic’s every movement monitored in Iranian prison

British Australian academic’s every movement monitored in Iranian prison
  • Conditions in the jail are dire, and it has a “sewer system that overflows into the wards’ courtyards,” a report said
  • In letters that have been smuggled out of prison, Moore-Gilbert said she feels “abandoned and forgotten”

LONDON: A British Australian academic, who is being held in an isolated Iranian prison, is being closely monitored everywhere she goes.
Two prisoners accompany Kylie Moore-Gilbert wherever she goes and report to authorities if any other inmates speak to her, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.
Although the academic has enough money to buy food and water in Qarchak women’s prison, where rations have been cut to a quarter of pre-pandemic levels, Moore-Gilbert’s contact with the outside world is banned, the British newspaper reported.
“The reason we have trouble getting information from Kylie is that the authorities have mandated two prisoners to follow her everywhere, to report if any prisoners talk to her,” Executive Director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center (ABC) for Human Rights in Iran Roya Boroumand told the Guardian.
The Middle East expert was arrested in September 2018 and sentenced to 10 years in prison in a secret trial on espionage charges.
Australia rejected the charges as baseless, and the country’s ambassador visited her in August.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, said the academic faces an “impossibly difficult” situation and that her case was a top priority for the Australian government.
Moore-Gilbert was recently moved from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison to Qarchak prison, which is overcrowded and regarded as one of the most hostile prisons in Iran.
Conditions in the jail are dire, and it has a “sewer system that overflows into the wards’ courtyards,” a recent report by ABC said.
Prison officials have distributed disinfectants to prisoners only once since the beginning of the pandemic, and no more additional cleaning or personal hygiene products have been provided.
The report also said that masks made inside the prison in unsanitary conditions are distributed free of charge.
At least 30 prisoners have contacted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are being held in a room for critically ill prisoners.
In letters that have been smuggled out of prison, Moore-Gilbert said she feels “abandoned and forgotten.”
She has begged for help and in a rare phone call said that she could not eat anything in Qarchak.
“I feel so very hopeless...I am so depressed,” she said.