An Australian academic who was imprisoned in Iran for two years before her release was brokered by Australia’s top spy has revealed she is pregnant.
Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, 35, revealed she has found love with ABC presenter and comedian Sami Shah, and the pair are expecting a baby together.
The former University of Melbourne lecturer was arrested for spying at Tehran airport as he prepared to return home after a three-week trip in 2018.
The Islamic studies scholar was finally released in November 2020 in a prisoner exchange deal after serving 804 days behind bars over allegations of espionage from the Iranian government, which she has always denied.
The swap deal was brokered by the former boss of the Australian spy agencies ASIS and the Office of National Intelligence, Nick Warner.
Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, 35, revealed she has found love with ABC presenter and comedian Sami Shah, with the pair expecting a baby together (pictured together)
The academic shows off her baby bump at a recent conference
When she returned home, she found that her husband Ruslan Hodorov had moved on with another woman – her former colleague at the University of Melbourne.
While in quarantine, her mother broke the news that her Russian-Israeli husband was having an affair with Dr. Kylie Baxter, her former supervisor.
Their relationship began when Dr. Moore-Gilbert was imprisoned in two of Iran’s most notorious prisons.
An ‘upset and disappointed’ Dr Moore-Gilbert filed for divorce shortly after returning home, announcing it was official on her Twitter account in April.
Her ex-husband was spotted with his new lover that same month.
The swap deal was brokered by the former boss of the Australian spy agencies ASIS and the Office of National Intelligence, Nick Warner
Dr. Moore-Gilbert (left) filed for divorce shortly after her release after learning that Mr. Hodorov was having an affair with her former colleague, Dr. Kylie Baxter (pictured together, right)
Before her arrest in September 2018, Dr Moore-Gilbert and Mr Hodorov had just bought a house in Melbourne after getting married in a Jewish ceremony last year.
They met ten years earlier when she visited Israel, where Mr. Hodorov lived after emigrating from Russia with his family.
Both Mr Hodorov, 33, and Dr Baxter, 45, pushed for the release of Dr Moore-Gilbert following her arrest for espionage at Tehran airport when she attempted to leave the country.
Mr Hodorov walked hand in hand with Dr Baxter this month along Melbourne’s Yarra River, close to their home in the exclusive suburb of Toorak.
When she first went to prison, she explained that she almost felt like giving up, but that she had learned through her own experience and with the help of other inmates that going on the offensive was her best defense.
The Islamic scholar was released in November 2020 in a prisoner exchange deal after spending 804 days behind bars
Speaking to The Age in 2021, she revealed she was trying to regain a sense of normalcy and had spent her time writing a book about her experience in an attempt at closure.
“These things take time to settle down, so actually it would be unusual for me to come out of prison and have PTSD right away,” she added.
“In terms of mistreatment or bullying from other inmates or prison guards or interrogators, if you made it very clear that you’d lose your s*** if they crossed a certain line, they’d quickly decide not to because it’s too much headache or hassle for them.’
Dr. Moore-Gilbert, an Islamic studies scholar, was released in a prisoner exchange deal after serving 804 days in an Iranian prison on espionage charges, which she denies
However, that fiery temper was not without consequences, as she was sent to solitary confinement for long periods and was even transferred from Tehran’s Evin Prison to the even worse Qarchak Prison.
She ended up getting a Farsi grammar book and newspaper that she used to learn the language while alone in her cell — which she says saved her sanity.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert recalls how a half-hour conversation with a man at the Iran conference led to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards arresting her.
They briefly discussed politics, particularly the situation in Bahrain, and when officers later arrested the man, she believed he had scapegoated her to get out of trouble.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert with former Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured)
She is part of an international campaign to allow governments to impose sanctions on foreign individuals who violate human rights laws – with her particular focus on the judge of Iran’s Revolutionary Court who sentenced her in a secret trial without evidence.
Dr. Moore-Gilbert said she still has mixed feelings about Iran and doesn’t hate the country — though her treatment was unfair, she said many people she met were compassionate.
Other inmates and female guards in the prison regularly paid attention to her and brought male guards back into line if they were disrespectful.
And she admits that prison has toughened her up a bit, which may not be a bad thing at all.
Learning that her old life was not waiting for her when she returned to Australia, instead of wallowing in grief, she quickly filed for divorce and focused on herself.
She revealed in April that she wanted nothing to do with her former husband, having previously revealed that she would like to “move on” from the marriage.
‘I don’t care what he does. He’s none of my business… that’s my ex and I don’t care about him,” she told the Herald Sun.