One of the meaningful ways you can work towards the release of imprisoned writers is through writing letters to those in government. Below we feature imprisoned writers from the Asia-Pacific region and include downloadable template letters that you can sign and send to the Prime Minister of Australia.
A scholar of Shia Islam with a doctoral thesis on Bahraini history, Kylie was trained at Wolfson College at Cambridge University and Melbourne University where she was employed as an Early Career Researcher in Islamic Studies at the Asia Institute.
She was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard as she went to leave Tehran in late 2018. This followed two complaints from Iranian citizens, including one at an academic conference Kylie was asked to speak at and during subsequent interviews for research.
At present, she is in solitary confinement in Ward Two A of Evin Prison. This section of the prison is controlled by political and military forces rather than the criminal justice system and has a notorious reputation as a punishing interrogation centre. Kylie has been there for over a year now after being sentenced to ten years for espionage.
The reason for Kylie’s incarceration has been debated privately by human rights groups, including PEN members, and journalists. Many argue that this is consistent with Iran’s long term actions of holding foreign nationals as leverage in diplomatic negotiations, including those centred on the Straits of Hormuz, the American nuclear deal, and the Missile Crisis earlier this year.
To date Kylie’s family, her employer Melbourne University, including the staff branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, have reassured multiple people that a diplomatic approach is the best course of action. Yet Kylie herself has asked for help. In an article ‘The Australian Government needs to step up its fight to free Kylie Moore-Gilbert from prison in Iran’ in The Conversation on January 30th 2020, Peter Greste argues that:
… when the traditional methods have failed so dismally to improve anything about Moore- Gilbert’s situation, surely the time has come to shift gears and get shouty to ramp up pressure on both Australian diplomats and Iranian government officials.
Australian PEN centres have had Empty Chairs for Kylie at large public events in March, and have coordinated with PEN England and PEN International. There has been international activist support including from the group ‘Free Fariba and Roland’ from Sciences Po University in Paris who are working for other prisoners. 4 Correspondence has been received from Andrew Todd, First Assistant Secretary of Consular and Crisis Management Division at DFAT, and Penny Williams, an Assistant Secretary for DFAT as a whole.
We encourage members to write to them at the RG Casey Building in Canberra. This is in addition to writing to Ambassador Sachs in Tehran, Minister Payne in Parramatta, and Minister Dominic Raab in the United Kingdom. Perhaps most importantly, please write to Kylie herself, for each letter is a message of love that goes into a sea of injustice in the hope that she gets home.
For more information please consult the articles noted here, and, listen to the podcast ‘Why is an Australian academic locked up in Iran’s most notorious prison?’ on The Guardian, February 26 2020."
Step 1: Download the template letter.
Step 2: Add the date and your name and signature.
Step 3: Visit the Prime Minister's website, enter your details and attach the signed letter.
Step 4: After submitting, get onto Facebook and Twitter and encourage your friends to do the same!