Kylie Moore-Gilbert’s long and excruciating journey has come to an end with the academic arriving back in Australia on Friday afternoon.
Dr Moore-Gilbert was greeted by health authorities and defence force members at the Canberra Airport after being locked up in Iran for 804 days.
Dr Moore-Gilbert was released earlier this week from an Iranian prison after spending more than two years behind bars over allegations of espionage.
Her journey has been like no other but the exceptional circumstances of the academic’s detention and release will not excuse her from being forced to do 14-days in quarantine before being completely freed, Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed on Thursday.
The Australian-British woman thanked diplomats and the wider community for the support she received through the traumatising ordeal.
“To all of you who have supported me and campaigned for my freedom, it has meant the world to me to have you behind me throughout what has been a long and traumatic ordeal,” Dr Moore-Gilbert said in a statement.
“I have nothing but respect, love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its warm-hearted, generous and brave people.
“It is with bittersweet feelings that I depart your country, despite the injustices I have been subjected to. I came to Iran as a friend, with friendly intentions.”
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The Islamic studies lecturer was tried in secret for espionage and sentenced to 10 years prison, despite no evidence of her alleged crimes having been publicly presented.
She had been since September 2018, at times in the notorious Qarchak prison, which has been described as an unsanitary and insect-infested place where the sewerage system frequently overflows and where COVID-19 has been running rampant this year.
Iranian state media claimed she had been exchanged in an inmate swap for three Iranian citizens who had been detained abroad but both the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister refused to confirm this.
“Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release has been an absolute priority for the Government since her detention,” Ms Payne said in a statement.
“The Australian Government has consistently rejected the grounds on which the Iranian Government arrested, detained and convicted Dr Moore-Gilbert. We continue to do so.”
Scott Morrison said that it would not be responsible to release details about the deal.
“Where another sovereign state has made a decision about the release of prisoners, that is a matter for them,” Mr Morrison said.
“I do understand the interest. I do understand the reasons why, rightly, these questions will be raised.
“We need to keep Australians safe in a whole matter of very complex and difficult arrangements and that is the reason why we are so discreet about the handling of these matters, because it can put other Australians at risk.”