Aussie imprisoned in Iran reveals moment she almost escaped

·News Reporter
·4-min read

Freed academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert has revealed horrific details of her time locked in a two square metre jail cell in Iran, where she was being held on charges of espionage.

The British-Australian woman was serving a 10-year sentence after being imprisoned in September 2018 but was released in November 2020 in exchange for three Iranians being detained abroad.

Dr Moore-Gilbert has detailed how during her 804 days behind bars at Evin Prison in Tehran, she had a brief taste of freedom after climbing onto the jail's roof in a bold attempt to escape.

"I'd seen a way to scale the wall and climb up on the roof of the facility, and one day I was just like, 'You know what? I'm going to do it. I have nothing to lose'," she told Melissa Doyle in a Sky News interview Tuesday evening.

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert revealed horrible details about her time in Iranian prison. Source: Sky News
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert revealed horrible details about her time in Iranian prison. Source: Sky News

"There were spikes on part of the wall, so I just took some socks with me and put them over my hands and then grabbed onto them, hoping they weren't too sharp.

"It was pretty effective. I climbed the wall, got up on the roof, disappeared from view and walked all the way to the end of the complex and could see over the wall of the prison."

The 33-year-old said she could have climbed down from the roof and entered the nearby neighbourhood, but she had concerns about what she would do next.

"Where would I have gone? What would I have done? I didn't speak the language. I was in a prison uniform. Without somebody on the outside to help me or pick me up in a car, I don't know what I would have done," she said.

"I didn't have any money and if they caught me (outside the walls) it would've been really serious."

Dr Moore-Gilbert was trapped for more than 800 days on charges of espionage. Source: Sky News
Dr Moore-Gilbert was trapped for more than 800 days on charges of espionage. Source: Sky News

While on the roof, she "basked in the sun" and yelled things from the roof to entertain her roommates, like "Azadi! Azadi! Freedom!".

For 20 minutes she contemplated making a run for it, but guards captured her before she could act.

Dr Moore-Gilbert went 'completely insane'

She was subsequently thrown into solitary confinement where she was subject to psychological torture, interrogated and beaten by guards, unwillingly injected with tranquilliser, and contemplated taking her own life.

In the seven months she spent in the two-by-two box, which had no toilet, she said she went "completely insane".

"By the end of it (I was) a crazy lady. My emotional state was just so volatile. I was basically having a prolonged anxiety attack," she said.

"I felt if I have to endure another day of this - you know if I could I would just kill myself. But of course I never tried and I never took that step."

The 33-year-old was subject to psychological torture while in solitary confinement. Source: Sky News
The 33-year-old was subject to psychological torture while in solitary confinement. Source: Sky News

When she finally was released, she experienced her first true freedom after arriving in Canberra where she met with her mum in a hotel room.

Husband had been having an affair with colleague

It was there that her mum revealed Dr Moore-Gilbert's husband Ruslan Hodorov had been having an affair with Dr Kylie Baxter, her university colleague and PhD supervisor.

"My mother told me when I arrived in hotel quarantine. She found out the day before from a third person, a third party... My family found out and called [him], and he confirmed it."

"The nature of it given my closeness to both of them was very disappointing for me.

"In a way it has been harder for me to process and come to terms with that then it has been with what happened to me in Iran."

She said Mr Hodorov had not contacted her since her release, but she still wished him and Dr Baxter the best.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting