Freed Australian woman Kylie Moore-Gilbert faces a challenging recovery process after spending two years in a notorious Iranian jail, according to a former prisoner.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert was jailed for 10 years on espionage charges in 2017, which she has consistently denied, and spent most of her 804-day incarceration in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
It was the same facility that housed American journalist Jason Rezaian, who told nine.com.au what conditions were like.
“It is what in the West we would call a covert operations site, run by the intelligence section of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”
Mr. Rezaian was a correspondent for the Washington Post in Iran from 2012 to 2016, during which he was imprisoned for 18 months in Evin Prison.
He said the area of the jail where he and Dr. Moore-Gilbert were being held was very isolated.
“They basically keep people in isolation for long periods of time,” Rezaian said.
“You have no way of communicating with the outside world.”
Rezaian said the prison system is designed to break prisoners.
“They set out to confuse you, it is psychological torture. They falsely tell you that you are about to be executed or released. It is a very hostile environment.”
He also said that he believed that Dr. Moore-Gilbert was being held in extremely cramped conditions.
“From what I understand, the inmates don’t have access to that outdoor space,” she said.
“Basically, I would have spent 24 hours a day, except for a little break … in very tight places.”
Rezaian said Dr. Moore-Gilbert now faces a challenging adjustment to freedom.
“The amount of time and energy to process your ordeal and return to a semblance of normalcy takes a long time,” he said.
“Incarceration alters the way you interact with others and with society in general.”
Rezaian said she suffered from nightmares for the first few weeks after her release before she began to adjust to her freedom.
“When I look back today, I’m certainly in a better place than I was then.”
In a statement, Dr Moore-Gilbert thanked the Australian government for helping to secure her release and the people who campaigned for her freedom.
She described her two years in jail as a long and traumatic ordeal. He said he respected Iran despite the “injustices” of his imprisonment.
“I came to your country as a friend and with friendly intentions and I leave Iran with those feelings,” said Dr. Moore-Gilbert.
International pressure on Iran to secure her release has intensified in recent months following reports that her health was deteriorating during long periods of isolation and that she had been transferred to the notorious Qarchak prison, east of Tehran.
He said he will face an arduous adjustment to freedom.
“She is an incredible Australian who has been through a test we can only imagine and it will be a difficult transition for her, as it has been for others in similar experiences in the past,” Morrison said.
“I know you will receive great support from your friends and family, and of course you will receive great support from the Australian government.”
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Dr Moore-Gilbert is healthy and in good spirits and will go into quarantine upon her return to Australia.
“We would all understand that Dr. Moore-Gilbert has to make adjustments, some plans to consider, so this will be a period of privacy and one wait, decompression.”