A British-Australian academic who was held in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison for more than 800 days has split from her husband after allegedly discovering he had had an affair while she was behind bars.
Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Islamic studies scholar, was freed last November in a prisoner swap deal after spending 804 days in jail on trumped-up spying charges.
But, according to Melbourne newspaper The Herald Sun, she then discovered that her Russian-Israeli husband, Ruslan Hodorov, was having an affair with Dr Kylie Baxter, her university colleague and PhD supervisor.
Before her September 2018 arrest, the 33-year-old and Mr Hodorov had just bought a house in Melbourne’s east after marrying in 2017 in a Jewish ceremony.
But Moore-Gilbert is now said to be divorcing him following her discovery of his alleged infidelity.
British-Australian academic Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured left), who was held in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison for more than 800 days, has split from her husband after allegedly discovering he had had an affair with colleague Dr Kylie Baxter while she was behind bars. Right: Mr Hodorov with Dr Baxter
Both Mr Hodorov and Dr Baxter pushed for Dr Moore-Gilbert’s release after her arrest for espionage in September 2018.
She was given a ten-year sentence but always denied the charges.
The Herald Sun cited friends of Mr Hodorov, 31, and Dr Baxter, 43, who claimed their affair started a year after Ms Moore-Gilbert’s arrest.
Dr Moore-Gilbert and Dr Baxter are both experts in Middle East studies at the University of Melbourne.
Dr Moore-Gilbert is reported to have suffered ‘immense’ shock on learning of her husband’s alleged affair.
She had defended her husband while in prison by refusing to help lure him to Iran in a plot concocted by her captors, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp.
A letter from Dr Moore-Gilbert to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, which was smuggled out of Evin prison revealed how the IRGC tried to set a trap for Mr Hodorov, who they wrongly accused of being an Israeli spy.
‘The Revolutionary Guard have imprisoned me in these terrible conditions for over nine months in order to extort me both personally and my government,’ Dr Moore-Gilbert wrote to the prime minister.
Dr Moore-Gilbert, an Islamic studies scholar, was freed last November in a prisoner swap deal after spending 804 days in jail on trumped-up spying charges
But, according to Melbourne newspaper The Herald Sun , she then discovered that her Russian-Israeli husband, Ruslan Hodorov, was having an affair with Dr Kylie Baxter, her university colleague and PhD supervisor
‘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.’
Dr Moore-Gilbert and Mr Hodorov married a few months before she left their Melbourne home on her study trip to Iran.
They met a decade earlier when she visited Israel, where Mr Hodorov lived after emigrating from Russia with his family.
While imprisoned, Dr Moore-Gilbert was kept in a tiny cell in freezing temperatures and was subjected to psychological torture.
A university spokesman refused to comment on the affair claims.
‘The university is grateful that Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert has returned to Australia and is recovering with family and friends,’ they told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Our priority is her health and well-being. We are looking forward to her returning to campus when she is ready.
‘We will not be commenting on Kylie’s private life.’
Dr Moore-Gilbert previously described some of the conditions in her prison when she penned a tweet in December about another inmate.
Before her September 2018 arrest, the 33-year-old and Mr Hodorov had just bought a house in Melbourne’s east after marrying in 2017 in a Jewish ceremony
She is blindfolded every time she leaves her small, cold, empty cell,’ she wrote.
‘She is even masked and blindfolded when taken to the outdoor “exercise” area. If she refuses, she will be handcuffed and dragged there by force.
‘No one has heard from her since her transfer.’
Last month, Dr Moore-Gilbert reunited with Perth bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin, two prisoners who she spent time with while behind bars.
‘Sinister undercover meeting of evil ”Mossad agents” plotting world domination (please note – no drones were harmed in the taking of this picture!)’ she wrote along with a selfie of the trio.
The 31-year-old (right) shared a photo on Wednesday with Perth bloggers Jolie King (middle) and Mark Firkin (left) who were imprisoned with her for three months
British-Australian academic Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert disembarks an Australian Government jet in Canberra on November 27, 2020 after her release
Ms King and Mr Firkin had spent three years in Evin Prison in northern Iran before they were released in October 2019.
Dr Moore-Gilbert was arrested at Tehran Airport in September 2018 as she attempted to leave the country.
The charges she was convicted of reportedly stemmed from the Iranian authorities’ belief that she was a spy for Israel because of her relationship with an Israeli citizen.
Nick Warner, the head of Australia’s intelligence service, successfully negotiated a prison swap for Dr Moore-Gilbert’s freedom.
He is understood to have spent months convincing people in meetings and even at social functions to get the Thai prisoners released – who the Iranian government called ‘businessmen’.
Australia’s ambassador to Thailand, Allan McKinnon, also lobbied with Thai officials to release three Iranian terrorists as an exchange for the Melbourne University lecturer.