Australia: As diplomacy 'fails', friends of jailed scholar in Iran begin public campaign 

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 30, 2020, 04.56 PM(IST)

Kylie Moore-Gilbert Photograph:( Others )

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Moore-Gilber's friends and colleagues have started 'Free Kylie' campaign after they felt Australa's strategy to rescue the lecturer has failed

After losing confidence in Australian diplomacy, friends of a British-Australian academic began a public campaign on Thursday to free her from a 10-year sentence for spying. 

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, was detained at Tehran airport in 2018 while she was trying to leave the country.

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Moore-Gilbert's friends and colleagues have started "Free Kylie" campaign after they felt Australia's strategy to rescue the lecturer has failed.

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The group said they remained "quiet" as was advised by the Australian foreign ministry and let diplomacy settle the issue.  

"But we believe that this strategy on its own has failed," they said, reported news agency AFP, adding that Canberra's approach had made "little headway in improving her day-to-day living conditions, let alone securing her release".

Moore-Gilbert has been shifted from a jail in the capital city Tehran to a prison outside the city, which is described by rights' groups as filthy and known for ill-treating political prisoners. 

Qarchak prison has been blacklisted under US human rights sanctions and several NGOs say that the facility is coronavirus-ridden. 

The British-Australian academic was arrested by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in September 2018 after she attended a conference in Qoms. 

"Please, I beg of you to do whatever it takes to get me out," Moore-Gilbert wrote to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in June 2019.

In a separate letter, she had also written that she had also went on hunger strikes five times and unconfirmed reports suggest she had also tried committing suicide. 

Canberra this week said Moore-Gilbert's remained one of its "highest priorities, including for our embassy officials in Tehran".

Australian foreign ministry also issued a strongly-worded statement, which added they hold "Iran responsible for Dr Moore-Gilbert's safety and well-being".