A BRITISH academic held in Iran has been carrying out politically sensitive research into the country’s links to the Shia uprising in Bahrain, it has been reported.
Dr Moore-Gilbert, who also has Australian nationality, has been held for over year in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, where Iran’s political prisoners are detained.
She is being held alongside Jolie King and her partner Mark Firkin, who were held for flying a drone.
Dr Moore-Gilbert was researching Tehran’s links with the Shia uprising in Bahrain in 2011, the Mail on Sunday reports.
Iran has been accused and supporting fellow Shia Muslims in Bahrain to rise against its Sunni government, in a bid to extend its control over tiny Arab kingdom.
Dr Moore-Gilbert’s identity was revealed yesterday, days after that of the other two detainees was made public.
The Cambridge-educated academic, who is now a lecturer in Islamic Studies at Melbourne University,
has reportedly been tried in a secret court and sentenced to 10 years for spying.
Colleagues told the Sunday Times she was “brave” and “humble”.
Marc Jones, a Qatar-based academic, said: “If someone like Kylie has been arrested, there is very good reason to be worried.”
The Australian Government has said it is lobbying Tehran to ensure all three are appropriately cared for.
Building designer Jolie was seized with her Australian partner in July for allegedly flying the gadget without a licence near the capital.
The British-Australian vlogger had been documenting her travels around the world on social media and YouTube, while raising money on crowdfunding site Patreon.
Jolie and Mark were arrested after quitting their jobs in Perth, Australia and have been held for ten weeks now.
The pair were mid-way through an epic drive from Australia to the UK, where Jolie’s dad Mike King was born and raised in Essex.
Evin prison is the main detention centre for Iran’s political prisoners.
It also houses Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 41-year-old British-Iranian mother of one who is midway through a five year sentence on spying charges which began in 2016.
A woman jailed at the prison has called it a “black hole of evil”, with claims of torture and brutality from guards.
Sources said Jolie and Mark were seized by authorities in July and are being used as bargaining chips for Negar Ghodskani, 40.
The Iranian had been living in Australia before she was arrested for trying to dodge sanctions then extradited to the US.
She admitted conspiracy to evade US sanctions and illegally export controlled technology last month and has had a baby since being locked behind bars.
Iranian authorities told Jolie she was being held in the hope of a prisoner swap, according to The Times.
Dr Moore-Gilbert’s LinkedIn profile shows her first degree came in Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge, where she also completed her Master of Arts.
After relocating to Australia, in 2017, she completed her PhD in Gulf politics at the University of Melbourne in 2017.
In January last year, she took up a post as a lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, where she worked until her imprisonment in Iran, believed to have happened around October, 2018.
News of the three prisoners this week has come amid a downturn in relations between Britain and Iran, sparked by issues including the Royal Marines’ seizure near Gibraltar in July of an Iranian oil tanker, the Adrian Darya 1.
Iran responded by seizing British-flagged oil tanker the Stena Impero in what was another chapter in a campaign of interfering with shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
While Britain released the Adrian Darya 1, the Stena Impero is still being held by Iran.
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