David MillwardSun, 7 February 2021, 8:48 pm
A British-Australian woman who spent nearly three years in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison has separated from her husband after hearing allegations he was having an affair with a colleague, according to media reports.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert, 33, has filed for divorce from Ruslan Hodorov, her Russian-Israeli husband, according to the Herald Sun of Melbourne.
The couple were wed in a traditional Jewish ceremony in 2017 after meeting a decade earlier in Israel.
Ms Moore-Gilbert spent 804 days in jail, after being accused of being a spy by the Iranians and sentenced to 10 years. She was seized in 2018 after attending a conference at the holy city of Qom in central Iran and strongly denied the charges.
She returned to Australia last November as part of a prisoner-swap agreement that saw the release of three Iranians accused of plotting to kill Israeli officials in Bangkok.
But the eminent Islamic scholar was reportedly heartbroken on her return to learn of allegations of her husband’s relationship with Dr Kylie Baxter, her PhD supervisor.
Quoting friends, the Australian paper said the affair began a year after Ms Moore-Gilbert’s arrest.
She was especially upset, given that she had resisted an attempt by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards to lure her husband to Iran, because they believed he was an Israeli spy.
She revealed details of the plot in a letter to Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, which was smuggled out of Iran and leaked to the Herald Sun in late 2019.
“The Revolutionary Guard have imprisoned me in these terrible conditions for over nine months in order to extort me both personally and my government,” she wrote.
“They have also attempted to use me as a hostage in a diabolical plot to lure my husband, an Australian permanent resident (and soon to be new citizen) into joining me in an Iranian prison.”
She had a gruelling time in prison and went on hunger strike on several occasions to protest at her living conditions.
The Iranians held her in a small freezing cell and tried to undermine her resolve with psychological torture.
On her release Ms Moore-Gilbert paid a heartfelt tribute on Twitter to the friends who had sustained her during her incarceration.
“I can’t tell you how heartening it was to hear that my friends and colleagues were speaking up and hadn’t forgotten me,” she wrote.
“It gave me so much hope and strength to endure what had seemed like a never-ending, unrelenting nightmare.”
The University of Melbourne declined to comment on the alleged affair.