A BRITISH-Australian academic who was caged in an Iranian jail for almost three years has split from her husband after he allegedly had an affair while she was in solitary confinement.
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, 33, was freed last November in a prisoner swap after spending 804 days locked up in a prison in Tehran.
However, just two days after her release, the Islamic scholar allegedly learned of her husband’s affair with her close colleague Dr Kylie Baxter.
According to the Melbourne newspaper, The Herald Sun, she discovered that her Russian-Israeli husband, Ruslan Hodorov, was in a relationship with Dr Baxter, her colleague, and PhD supervisor.
Both Mr Hodorov, 31, and Dr Baxter, 43, pushed for Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release after she was arrested for espionage in September 2018.
Before she was arrested, the 33-year-old and her husband had just bought a house after marrying in 2017.
According to The Herald Sun, friends of Mr Hodorov and Dr Baxter claimed their affair started just after Dr Moore-Gilbert’s arrest.
The Cambridge-educated academic is reported to have suffered “immense” shock after learning of her husband’s affair.
In September 2018, Dr Moore-Gilbert was reported as “suspicious” to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards by fellow conference delegates and someone she was interviewing, and arrested at Tehran airport as she prepared to fly out of the country, the Guardian said.
While imprisoned she was kept in a small cell in freezing temperatures and was subjected to psychological torture by her captures.
In letters smuggled out of Evin Prison and published in January, she wrote: “I’m taking psychiatric medications, but these 10 months that I have spent here have gravely damaged my mental health.
“I am still denied phone calls and visitations, and I am afraid that my mental and emotional state may further deteriorate if I remain in this extremely restrictive detention ward.”
She has reportedly refused an offer of freedom in return for becoming a spy for Iran.
“I am not a spy. I have never been a spy, and I have no interest to work for a spying organisation in any country,” she wrote.
The scholar was given a ten-year sentence but denied all charges made against her.
In January, Dr Moore-Gilbert was reunited with bloggers Mark Firkin and Jolie King who spent time with her behind bars in Iran.
King was seized with her Australian boyfriend Firkin after allegedly flying a drone without a licence near the capital Tehran.
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Abusive comments online – some posted from Iran – slam her and Aussie boyfriend Mark Firkin for having a “white saviour complex” and say they were “asking for trouble”.
The couple were released in October 2019.
On October 7, the Australian foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, told reporters: “It is with some enormous relief that I announce that they have been released and returned.”