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ISA Statement Regarding Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert's Imprisonment in Iran

The International Studies Association (ISA) strongly condemns the arrest and detention of Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a dual British-Australian national and scholar of the Middle East and Lecturer at Melbourne University, by the Iranian government. In 2018, Dr. Moore-Gilbert traveled to Iran to attend a university program on Islam for foreign academics. While there, she was detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on unsubstantiated charges of espionage and sentenced to a decade in prison in a secret trial.  

We are extremely concerned about Moore-Gilbert’s health and future survival in Iranian prison. She was taken to the isolated 2A section of Evin’s prison, where she was held in solitary confinement for over a year despite grave reports about her deteriorating physical health. There are recent reports that she has been transferred to the Qarchak prison in the desert outside Tehran, which has been described as one of the worst women's prisons in the world. She has now spent more than 700 days in prison, where her health, and indeed life, are at risk.

Dr. Moore-Gilbert is not a spy; she is a scholar. Her arrest is evidence of a broader campaign against academic freedom that has been mounted by many regimes across the globe in recent years. We condemn this arbitrary arrest and detention as an assault on academic freedom and the ability for scholars to conduct research in their field.

For further information about ISA’s deliberative processes on academic freedom concerns and the committee’s charge from the Governing Council, please see:


Helen V. Milner, ISA President
Mark A. Boyer, ISA Executive Director
Erin Jenne, Chair, ISA Academic Freedom Committee

Posted in: Statements


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