Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British-Australian academic who has been jailed in Iran for more than two years, has been released.
"Kylie Moore-Gilbert is coming home," he said. "She was facing another eight years in an Iranian prison, wrongfully imprisoned there and wrongfully convicted, and it is incredibly essential that we did the work that was done to secure her release and see her coming home."
Gilbert, an Islamic scholar, was arrested in 2018 while in Iran to attend a conference and was convicted to 10 years in prison on espionage charges that she and the Australian government vehemently deny.
In a statement on Wednesday, Gilbert thanked the Australian government and its embassy in Iran for working to secure her release during the 804 days she was detained in the Middle Eastern country.
She said despite the injustices she has been subjected to, she leaves the country with "nothing but respect, love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its warm-hearted, generous and brave people."
"It is with bittersweet feelings that I depart your country," she said. "I came to Iran as a friend and with my friendly intentions, and depart Iran with those sentiments not only still intact but strengthened."
Iranian state-run news agency MEHR reported that Australia secured her release through a prisoner swap for three Iranian men jailed abroad.
Morrison told reporters that he can not comment on how they secured her exit from prison but said no person detained in Australia has been released as part of it.
"We don't confirm or make any comment on any of the suggestions that surround her release or the others," he said, adding, "If other people have been released in other places, they are the decision of the sovereign government in those places."
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that her release was achieved "through diplomatic engagement" with Tehran.
"This outcome demonstrates that value of professional and determined work, in the most appropriate way for each case, to resolve complex and sensitive consular cases," she said. "I wish Dr. Moore-Gilbert well in her recovery and her return to life in Australia."
Friends and colleagues of Gilbert who have been fighting for her release said in a statement that they are "over the moon" that she is coming home but condemned Iran for arresting her in the first place.
"This should never have happened," the statement said. "Kylie was held to ransom by the Iranian regime, which saw fit to take an innocent Australian woman hostage in order to bring its own convicted prisoners abroad home. It's a despicable business model with incalculable human consequences."
Amnesty International Australia said it was "a relief to hear of her release," calling for Gilbert's allegations of prolonged solitary confinement, torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of the Iranian regime to be investigated.
"The Australian government has been working hard on Kylie's case, and we urge Foreign Minister Marise Payne to keep up the diplomatic efforts for Australians in other countries imprisoned on what appear to be politically motivated charges," Rose Kula, the organization's Individuals at Risk campaigner, said in a statement.