From her cell inside Ward 2-A of Evin Prison, on the northern outskirts of Tehran, Kylie Moore-Gilbert wrote a letter last September to her Iranian prosecutor asking for a message to be delivered to the Australian embassy. “I am entirely alone in Iran,” she wrote. “I have no friends or family here and in addition to all the pain I have endured here, I feel like I am abandoned and forgotten.”
Two months later, after learning that she had received a 10-year prison sentence on charges of espionage, Dr Moore-Gilbert, a 33-year-old academic who specialises in the politics of the Gulf states, wrote again to the prosecutor to request that, at least, she be transferred to a “normal ward” for prisoners whose verdicts had been delivered.
“I have suffered 14 months in this temporary detention centre without any justifications, and my tolerance for such a game is really low at the moment,” she wrote. “… Mr Vaziri, you told me you would help me. I unfortunately need your help again now.”
These letters from Moore-Gilbert were among 10 obtained and published earlier this year by the Center for Human Rights in Iran. They make for a harrowing read, a chronicle of the academic’s deteriorating mental and physical health and her desperate appeals for help to secure food, medication, books, visits and phone calls.