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Kylie Moore-Gilbert speaks at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, in February.Credit…Image of Mick Tsikas/AAP, via Reuters

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Islamic studies scholar who has been detained in Iran for more than two years, is still looking to move on with her life two years after returning home to Australia. Her experience provides a glimpse of what Brittney Griner and others who have experienced similar challenges may face in their transition to life after incarceration.

Ms Griner, who returned to the United States on Friday after being detained in Russia for 10 months, is now a member of a “strange club” of people around the world who have returned home from detention. kept abroad, many of them support each other, Dr. Moore-Gilbert said on Saturday.

Once home, Dr. Moore-Gilbert could not simply start over where she left off. She quit her job at the University of Melbourne and a few months after her release she started writing about her experience in prison, which she found healing, she said. She has spent most of this year traveling and attending events to promote her published book, “The Uncaged Sky.”

When that was over, “I had to reevaluate my life and try to figure out what I was doing with myself,” she said.

Dr Moore-Gilbert was arrested at Tehran airport in 2018 when she tried to leave Iran after attending a seminar on Shia Islam. After being tried in secret, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage and spent most of her time in Evin Prison. She is Released November 2020 in exchange for three Iranian men imprisoned in Thailand.

She has maintained her chastity. Iran has a record of detaining foreigners and dual nationals on charges of false espionage, exchanging them for Iranians jailed abroad.

For Dr. Moore-Gilbert, the challenge has changed over time and has become more difficult than it was in the first months after her release. She describes spending her early days in a state of shock and paralysis when suddenly there were countless options, like which shampoo to buy and which friends to go out with, after everything had been decided for her in the past. prison.

It was only after the shock had passed, which lasted for many months, that her detention became a reality for her. At that time, the series of people around her asking if she needed help disappeared.

People avoid mentioning her imprisonment or mentioning Iran, she said: “It’s annoying because I want to talk about it. I don’t want to just dig a hole and bury it.”

Her time in prison was not the constant suffering that people usually assume; It includes funny and fun moments with her fellow prisoners. She learned things about her character and how she reacts to difficult situations.

To move forward and keep jail time from taking a toll on her life, she has campaigned for “other victims of arbitrary detention and hostage diplomacy,” she says. speak.


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