Kylie Moore-Gilbert says it’s her ‘duty’ to speak up for ‘forgotten’ political prisoners

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Dr Moore-Gilbert was held in an Iranian prison for more than two years after he was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards while he was controlling his flight back to Australia in 2018.

Convicted of espionage and sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of espionage, the woman spent 804 days in prison, seven months of which was in solitary confinement. He has always denied these accusations.

In an interview with Sky News earlier this year, Dr Moore-Gilbert recalled being beaten by guards, injected with a sedative, and said he had turned down several requests to be recruited as a spy on the condition that he be released immediately.

British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert appears on Iranian state television.

Source: Iranian State Television

When asked by SBS News about his fearlessness in speaking about human rights abuses, he replied, “I don’t consider myself brave or brave.”

“It is my duty to support my friends imprisoned in Iran and to highlight the many injustices I have seen during my time there,” he said.

Iran has detained an increasing number of foreign nationals and Iranian dual nationals in recent years, and human rights groups have accused them of using cases to try to get concessions from other countries.

Dr Moore-Gilbert said he was in “regular contact” with the families of several of his fellow prisoners and the families of some political prisoners who have since been released.

“Some struggle because they feel abandoned and forgotten,” he said.

“Continuing to put pressure on the Iranian government and calling for their release is important not only because it can lead to their release, but also because it increases a prisoner’s resilience when he knows that an outsider cares about his or her destiny. ”

Reportedly released as part of a complex prisoner swap deal involving four countries, Dr Moore-Gilbert said the phenomenon of state hostage-taking has become a growing problem for Western countries.

A large number of Australians remain in foreign prisons, despite little evidence of their wrongdoing.

Australian engineer Robert Pether has been detained in Iraq since April after he and his Egyptian colleague Khalid Zaghloul were arrested while working for engineering firm CME Consulting in Baghdad.

Yang Hengjun.

Source: Facebook

Australian writer Dr Yang Hengjun spent two years in a Chinese prison on espionage charges, despite saying he was “100 percent innocent” at a secret trial in Beijing.

Van Kham Chau was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2019 for being a member of the political party Viet Tan. He is not allowed to speak directly to his family in Australia, and his letters to them are read by Vietnamese authorities. Amnesty International.

“The sad truth is that there are a large number of Australians detained abroad and there is currently little or no cooperation between allies in this global issue, with each country essentially reinventing the wheel and driving it alone,” said Dr Moore-Gilbert.

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While Dr Moore-Gilbert remains grateful to the government for its efforts to secure his release, he said the initial tactic of silent diplomacy was flawed.

His case came to the fore nearly a year after his arrest, when two other Australians, Mark Firkin and Jolie King, were arrested “for flying a drone near the capital Tehran.” Both were released in 2019 after serving three months in prison.

“The Australian government did some very impressive diplomatic acrobatics to finally free me, and for that I will always be grateful,” Dr Moore-Gilbert told SBS News.

“I have argued for a long time that it was a mistake to keep my situation private for so long, and that the media and a public campaign played an important role in securing my release.”

When asked to respond to Dr Moore-Gilbert’s comments at the time, a spokesperson for the Department of State and Trade said that she was “delighted that Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert returned to Australia in November last year after more than two years in detention. Iranian”.

“Each consular case is complex in nature and evaluated on a case-by-case basis with a strategy developed on a case-by-case basis. We will not comment on the conditions of his release.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also commented on Dr Moore-Gilbert’s case in March this year, telling reporters: “I know he is deeply grateful for all the work done by the government and authorities.”

“Now, Kylie Moore-Gilbert can’t be publicly aware of everything the government was involved in securing her release over an extended period of time, and many other issues that went on throughout that time,” Morrison said. .

“There will be opinions on this matter, but what I do know is that our top priority consular case has always been to bring Kylie home.”

Dr Moore-Gilbert is now part of an international effort to enforce Magnitsky’s laws.

The Senate passed legislation Wednesday, similar to Magnitsky, which, if passed, would allow governments to impose sanctions on individuals in foreign countries who commit human rights abuses.

“I am interested in the Magnitsky law in Australia because it will allow me to file for wrongful arrest while in prison and for some people involved in human rights abuses to be sanctioned by my home country,” he said.

“The prospects of using Magnitsky laws to track down human rights abusers in many countries, including Iran and other countries that have arbitrarily detained Australians, are promising and hopefully parliament will pass an Australian Magnitsky Act before the next election.”

Dr Moore-Gilbert said the Canadian-led declaration against arbitrary detention signed by Australia earlier this year was a “symbolic first step”.

“However, there is clearly a need for a more robust mechanism to punish and deter state hostage-taking, whether codified in international law or in the form of an alliance between like-minded countries,” he said.

More can certainly be done, and it would make sense for Australia as a middle power to join forces with other Western countries to pool their influence and solve this problem collectively.”

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