In a Facebook post on Monday, prominent jailed lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has announced that Australian-British citizen Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been transferred from Tehran's Evin Prison to the "Quarantine Ward" of the notorious Qarchak Prison as 'punishment'.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert, is a lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne. She was in Iran to take part in a university program on Islam for foreign academics. During her stay she conducted some interviews and one of her academic colleagues on this program who she also interviewed flagged her as "suspicious" to the Revolutionary Guard leading to her arrest in early 2019.
Nasrin Sotoudeh who has on several occasions helped publicize Dr. Moore-Gilbert's condition in prison is herself serving a 38-year term in Evin Prison for a series of ambiguous security charges.
The prominent rights defender and lawyer in her Facebook post on Monday said Dr. Moore-Gilbert had called from prison to tell her about her transfer to Qarchak.
The ward called "Quarantine" in Qarchak is where prisoners are held before being assigned to different wards. Unlike Evin where a big number of inmates are political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are kept, Qarchak is primarily a prison for those who have committed serious crimes including drug-related offenses and murder. According to Sotoudeh there are many COVID patients where Dr. Moore-Gilbert is currently held.
Sotoudeh has not mentioned the reason why Dr. Moore-Gilbert is being "punished" but several political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in the past have said that they were "exiled" to Qarchak as punishment for not "cooperating" with prison authorities and interrogators That usually means agreeing to dictated "confessions" against themselves or implicating others.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert has never accepted the spying charge. In letters smuggled out of the prison and published in British media in January she wrote that she had endured 10 months in solitary confinement, which had "gravely damaged" her health. She also divulged in her letters that the Revolutionary Guard intelligence officers had offered her to spy for them in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert 's case, like those of many other foreign or dual citizens jailed in Iran is tied to security affairs and its details have never been made public.
She went on hunger strike in prison in December 2019 to protest being kept in solitary confinement and being banned from contacting her family. According to Nasrin Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan, she has even several times attempted suicide.