Iran British-Australian educator Kylie Moore-Gilbert was reportedly released on Wednesday during a prisoner exchange for three Iranians.
Moore-Gilbert, 33, one of the country’s highest-ranking Western prisoners, was jailed for more than two years on espionage charges.
In a statement, he praised the Iranian people and thanked those who worked for his release.
“I have nothing but respect, love and admiration for Iran’s great nation and its loving, generous and courageous people,” Moore-Gilbert told The Guardian. “Despite my injustices, I am leaving your country.
“I came to Iran as a friend and with friendly intentions. I left Iran with those feelings. It is not the same yet, but strengthened,” he continued.
Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer at the University of Melbourne on Middle Eastern Studies, was taken to Tehran Airport and arrested when he tried to leave the country in 2018 after attending an academic conference. He was convicted in a secret trial and sentenced to 10 years in prison for crimes he never committed.
“I am an innocent woman,” she wrote in a letter to prison officials last year Announced. “[And] I have been imprisoned for a crime I did not commit and there is no real evidence of that. ”
“I am not a spy. I have never been a spy and I am not interested in working for a spy agency in any country. When I leave Iran, I want to live an independent life as a free woman, not in the shadow of extortion and threats, “she continued.
The Iranians who were released in exchange for Moore-Gilbert were described by Iranian state television as “economic activists” who were imprisoned to avoid sanctions on the country, but the report failed to elaborate further. They wore Iranian flags over their shoulders and wore clothes designed to hide their identities.
Footage showed Moore-Gilbert seated in a gray hijab in an open greeting room at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran, after which he was able to be seen boarding an Australian-deadly plane.
He was one of several Westerners arrested in Iran on widely criticized spy charges in Iran, which activists and the UN have accused of being a deliberate attempt to imprison him for money or influence in negotiations with Western countries that Iran refuses.
Moore-Gilbert wrote in a letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that he had been imprisoned for “extorting money” from the Australian government.
Morrison said this week that Moore-Gilbert was “glad and relieved” to be coming home after spending 804 days in detention. Although he did not go into details, the Prime Minister told Australia’s Network Nine that he had done nothing to discriminate against the security of Australians and that no prisoners had been released in his country.
Australian Foreign Minister Marice Payne described her release as an “absolute priority” for the government and congratulated her on her return to Australia. The idea came after several hunger strikes while Moore-Gilbert was in prison. To release her while in custody.
Who was Moore-Gilbert Karsak was transferred to jail in July, A distant prison known for holding political prisoners in the country, he wrote, “was subjected to psychological torture and long-term solitary confinement.”
“When he recovers, there is no doubt that he will have the same strength and determination that helped him achieve his detention,” Payne said.
Fox News’ Stephen Soros and the Associated Press contributed to the report.