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Freed British-Australian academic says Iran subjected her to ‘psychological torture’

Kylie Moore-Gilbert (Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A British-Australian woman jailed in Iran for more than two years on widely criticized espionage charges has said in a television interview broadcast on March 9 that she was subjected to “psychological torture.”

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer in Islamic Studies at Melbourne University, returned to Australia in November after serving 804 days of a 10-year sentence.

Moore-Gilbert, 33, who was freed in exchange for the release of three Iranians held in Thailand, told Sky News that she was held in solitary confinement.

“It’s [an] extreme solitary confinement room designed to break you. It’s psychological torture. You go completely insane. It is so damaging. I would say I felt physical pain from the psychological trauma I had in that room. It’s [a] 2-meter by 2-meter box,” she said.

“There were a few times in that early period that I felt broken. I felt if I had to endure another day of this, you know, if I could I’d just kill myself. But of course, I never tried and I never took that step,” Moore-Gilbert added.

She also confirmed that members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had attempted to recruit her as a spy “many times.”

Moore-Gilbert had written about the attempts in letters smuggled out of prison and published in British media in January 2020.

Iran has arrested dozens of foreign and dual nationals in recent years on espionage charges that they and their governments say are groundless.

Critics say Iran uses such arbitrary detentions as part of hostage diplomacy to extract concessions from Western countries, which Tehran denies.