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open letter

An open letter to Anthony Albanese: Help free Kylie Moore-Gilbert

We are not friends with, and nor have we met, Kylie Moore-Gilbert. We wrote this open letter to our local member in Grayndler, Opposition leader Anthony Albanese, because of the grave situation facing her. We think of Kylie often.

We first became aware of Kylie through media reports that a young academic, expert on Bahraini politics and the Middle East, had been arrested in Iran after she attended a conference in August 2018. Kylie was detained as she was about to board her scheduled flight home. She was charged with espionage, and at a secret trial sentenced to ten years in jail. She had only twenty days to prepare an appeal, which was rejected. No evidence has been presented publicly to support the claim of espionage, and the Australian Government has stated they do not accept the charges on which she was convicted.

Perhaps naively, we hoped the situation would be resolved quickly. A year went by, and now two. Worryingly there are reports of her physical and mental deterioration in notoriously harsh Iranian prisons.

The diplomatic strategy of the Australian government, up to now, has not worked. Kylie’s friends and colleagues have asked that the public lend their support and pressure by contacting their member of parliament and taking other action.

Rather than write to our local member privately, we drafted this open letter below and asked friends and colleagues in the electorate if they would sign alongside us. We had over fifty names in a weekend.

If you live in Grayndler and wish to sign this open letter, please email us. We will add your name and deliver the open letter to Mr Albanese’s Office in person.

If you are an academic living elsewhere or a concerned member of the public, there is a petition you can sign. It has over a quarter of a million signatures already.

If you would like to know more about Kylie’s situation you can go to the Free Kylie website. Kylie’s colleague and friend Jessie Moritz has also written a piece for The Conversation on what more the Australian Government can do.

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Open letter to the Hon Anthony Albanese, Opposition Leader and Member for Grayndler

We are academics living in the electorate of Grayndler. We are writing to you as our local member in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert was born in New South Wales and is an international expert in Islamic Studies, currently working at the University of Melbourne. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge in 2013 (first class honours), and her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2017.

Dr Moore-Gilbert was arrested at Tehran airport in August 2018, and was subsequently convicted of espionage and sentenced to 10 years in prison at a secret trial. Her arbitrary detention by the Iranian regime is a grave miscarriage of justice, and an assault on academic freedom and the ability for scholars to conduct independent research.

Dr Moore-Gilbert was doing no more than the work academics do daily, all over the world, in attending an academic conference and engaging in dialogue about her research.

Since Dr Moore-Gilbert’s arrest over two years ago, she has been held in notoriously harsh Iranian prisons and often in solitary confinement. This has taken an enormous toll on her physical and mental health.

We call on you to publicly and strongly urge the Australian government to:

  • commit more resources and time to securing her release and return to Australia;
  • seek an end the ongoing cruelty and hardship she is suffering; and
  • demand that she receives appropriate consular, medical and psychological care in the interim.

The strategy pursued by the government and DFAT over the last two years, and supported by yourself, has evidently not worked.

A new approach is needed and, as our local member, we ask that you show leadership on this question and pursue justice and humane treatment for Dr Moore-Gilbert.

We note that in recent weeks there has been confusion concerning Dr Moore-Gilbert’s location, and her move from Qarchak prison. It took some time to confirm she has been returned to Evin prison. This movement does not signify any progress in her case. This has also been a stressful time for her friends and family, who are profoundly worried for her safety and wellbeing.

We can and must do more.

Yours sincerely

1. Dr Elizabeth Humphrys, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
2. Professor Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
3. Associate Professor Christina Ho, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
4. Professor Emerita Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney, Professor Emerita
5. Associate Professor Alana Lentin, Western Sydney University, Institute for Culture & Society
6. Daniel Reeders, Australian National University , School of Regulation and Governance 
7. Dr Eugene Schofield-Georgeson, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law
8. Dr Jesse Adams Stein, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building
9. Dr Jess McLean, Macquarie University, School of Social Sciences
10. Dr Zora Simic, University of NSW, School of Humanities and Languages
11. Dr Ruth Balint, University of NSW, School of Humanities and Languages
12. Dr Sara Dehm, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law
13. Dr Ben Silverstein, Australian National University, School of History
14. Dr Chelsea Barnett, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
15. Eurydice Aroney, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
16. Bhuva Narayan, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
17. Dr James Keating, University of NSW, School of Humanities and Languages
18. Dr. Andrew Taylor, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
19. Dr. Gregory Ferris, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
20. Professor Sara Wilkinson, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Design Architecture & Building
21. Dr Dallas Rogers, University of Sydney, School of Architecture, Design and Planning 
22. Professor Chris Gibson, University of Wollongong, School of Geography and Sustainable Communities
23. Dr Kynan Tan, University of NSW, School of Art & Design
24. Dr Michael Grewcock, University of NSW, Faculty of Law (retired)
25. Dr Gareth Bryant, University of Sydney, School of Social & Political Sciences
26. Dr Jacqueline Nelson, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
27. Lea Redfern, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
28. Dr Na’ama Carlin, University of NSW, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
29. Dr Frances Flanagan, University of Sydney, Sydney Business School
30. Dr Paul Byron, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
31. Associate Professor Bill Dunn, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
32. Emeritus Professor Linda Connor, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
33. Associate Professor Gaby Ramia, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
34, Dr Ioana Ramia, University of NSW, UNSW Business School
35. Associate Professor Tom Morton, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
36. Associate Professor Elizabeth Hill, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
37. Dr Amelia Johns, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
38. Professor Adrian Vickers, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
39. Dr Andy Kaladelfos , University of NSW, School of Social Sciences  
40. Professor Thalia Anthony, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law
41. Associate Professor Anika Gauja, University of Sydney, School of Social and Political Sciences
42. Ms Harriet Flitcroft, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
43, Dr Ben Golder, University of NSW, Faculty of Law
44. Dr Zoë Sadokierski , University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building 
46. Associate Professor Gab Abramowitz, University of NSW, Faculty of Science
47. Professor James Goodman, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
49. Dr. Clare Cooper, University of Sydney, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning
50. Associate Professor Tamson Pietsch, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
51. Dr Lana Tatour, University of NSW, School of Social Sciences
52. Professor Susan Park, University of Sydney, School of Social and Political Science
53. Madeleine Borthwick, University of Sydney, School of Architecture, Design and Planning
54. Associate Professor Anna Clark, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
55. Jessica Lea Dunn, University of Sydney, School of Architecture, Design and Planning
56. Associate ProfessorRoger Patulny, University of Wollongong
57. Associate Professor Michael Fabinyi, University of Technology Sydney
58. Dr Leah Williams Veazey, University of Sydney, School of Social and Political Sciences
59. Lachlan Simpson, University of NSW
60. Dr Michael R. Griffiths, University of Wollongong, School of the Arts, English and Media
61. Nick Daniel, University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
62. Anna Hush, University of NSW, Faculty of Law
63. Dr Declan Kuch, Western Sydney University, Institute for Culture and Society 
64. Joel Griggs, University of Sydney, School of Social and Political Sciences
65. Dr Annette Dowd, University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Science
66. Emeritus Professor Ben Boer, University of Sydney, Faculty of Law
67. Dr Alistair Sisson, University of NSW, Built Environment 
68. Dr Robert Boncardo, University of Sydney, School of Social and Political Sciences 
69. Kath Kenny, Macquarie University, Centre for Media History 
70. Dr Rozanna Lilley, Macquarie University, School of Education  
71. Professor David Schlosberg, University of Sydney, Sydney Environment Institute  
72. Dr Andrew Brooks, University of NSW, School of Arts and Media 
73. Professor Nicole Gurran, University of Sydney, School of Architecture, Design and Planning 
74. Dr Justine Humphry, University of Sydney, Department of Media and Communications  
75. Dr Heather Formaini, independent researcher 
76. Professor Angela Webster, University of Sydney, School of Public Health 
77. Dr Alexander Page, University of Sydney, School of Social and Political Sciences 

 

Image credit: Megan Higgs/The Modern Middle East TV series

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Dr Elizabeth Humphrys is a political economist in Social and Political Sciences at UTS, and the UTS Student Ombud. Her research examines work and workers in the context of economic crisis and change, including neoliberalism, climate change and workplace disasters. Elizabeth is an Associate of the Centre for Future Work at The Australia Institute. Her first book is How Labour Built Neoliberalism (Haymarket 2019).

Christina Ho is an Associate Professor in Social and Political Sciences at UTS. She researches migration, cultural diversity, citizenship and identity, and has focused particularly on Chinese migration, Muslim diasporas and migrant youth and belonging. She is currently working on projects investigating ethnicity and education and community building in urban areas. Her most recent book is Aspiration and Anxiety: Asian Migrants and Australian Schooling (MUP 2020).

Devleena Ghosh is a Professor in Social and Political Sciences at UTS. She researches and has published widely in environmental and postcolonial studies, specifically on India and Indian Ocean connections. Currently, she is researching coal mining in Chattisgarh, progressive women’s movements in India and Australia and syncretic religious practices in India. Her most recent book is Teacher for Justice: Lucy Woodcock's Transnational Life (with Heather Goodall and Helen Randerson) (ANU Press 2019).

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Comments

  1. Please Mr Albanese, please help to try and secure release of Dr.Kylie Moore Gilbert, it could be anyone elses daughter,mother, sister there.

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