Iran: British-Australian academic in notorious jail begs Scott Morrison to end 'terrible trauma'

A British-Australian academic detained in Iran for more than a year on suspected spying charges has begged Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to secure her release.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert is being held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, having been given a 10-year sentence.

A letter written in June 2019 by the Cambridge graduate, who is a lecturer on the Middle East at the University of Melbourne, has been smuggled out of the prison and published by the US-based Centre for Human Rights in Iran.

"I beg you to act faster to bring this terrible trauma that myself and my family must live through day after day," she wrote.

She said she had travelled to Iran on a university programme and had been doing research interviews.

"Unfortunately, one of my academic colleagues on this programme and one of my interview subjects flagged me as suspicious to the Revolutionary Guards," she wrote.

She wrote again on Christmas Eve to say that much of her time inside the jail, since October 2018, has been spent in solitary confinement.

Ms Moore-Gilbert also said she had been allowed only one three-minute phone call with her family in nine months and had undertaken five hunger strikes.

"I beg of you, prime minister Morrison, to take immediate action, as my physical and mental health continues to deteriorate with every additional day that I remain imprisoned in these conditions," she added.

When asked last month by reporters if he was concerned for Ms Moore-Gilbert's welfare, Mr Morrison said he was, adding: "As I am for any Australian who finds themselves in these types of situations."

The charges against her have never been revealed, but she lost an appeal against her sentence last year.

She is being held in Ward 2-A, said to be run by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard, where British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained during her three-and-a-half years in custody.