Iran has freed a British-Australian academic accused of spying in an apparent prisoner swap. The 33-year-old said she had 'bittersweet feelings' leaving Iran, despite having spent two years in a notorious prison.
A British-Australian academic who spent two years in a notorious Iranian jail after being accused of spying spoke on Thursday of her "long and traumatic ordeal."
Kylie Moore-Gilbert thanked Australia for "working tirelessly" to free her.
"It is with bittersweet feelings that I depart your country, despite the injustices which I have been subjected to," she said in a statement. "I came to Iran as a friend and with friendly intentions and depart Iran with those sentiments not only still intact, but strengthened."
Iranian state media said Moore-Gilbert had been released as part of a prisoner swap.
Thailand said on Thursday it had returned three Iranians jailed over a 2012 bomb plot in Bangkok.
But Thai officials did not explicitly link the tranfers with Moore-Gilbert's release.
Speaking at a press conference, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison only confirmed that Australia had not released any prisoners.
He added that he had spoken to Moore-Gilbert and confirmed she would receive health and psychological support on her return.
"She is an amazing Australian who has gone through an ordeal that we can only imagine, and it will be a tough transition for her," he told reporters.
Authorities arrested the 33-year-old Melbourne University lecturer in September 2018 at Tehran airport.
Judges, in a secret trial, then convicted her of espionage. She consistently denied the charges.
Moore-Gilbert served a jail term at Tehran's Evin prison that is renowned for its inhuman conditions and the use of torture is widespread.
Over the summer, she was transferred to the remote Qarchak Prison, east of Tehran, as fears escalated over the spread of the coronavirus at Evin.
International pressure had been building on Iran to release Moore-Gilbert. She went on repeated hunger strikes and her health deteriorated during long stretches in solitary confinement.