How Schapelle Corby’s security guard helped orchestrate the release of Australian academic in Iran

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How Schapelle Corby’s security guard helped with Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert’s swift departure from the hellhole prison in Iran she spent two years in after being accused of being a spy

  • Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert was released from Iranian jail this week
  • She was serving a ten-year sentence in Iran on trumped-up espionage charges     
  • Dr Moore-Gilbert touched down in Canberra, Australia, on Friday afternoon 
  • She celebrated her release with a cup of coffee and a Tim Tam on the plane 
  • It has been revealed Schapelle Corby’s bodyguard helped extract her from Iran

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured) was released in a reported prisoner swap deal early after spending two years in prison in Iran

The high-profile security consultant who masterminded the speedy departure of Schapelle Corby from a Bali prison also played a major role extracting Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert.

The Melbourne University Middle Eastern studies lecturer was finally freed after 804 days behind bars in an Iranian jail on trumped-up charges of spying for Israel.

But it’s been revealed Ms Moore-Gilbert was moved to a Tehran safehouse earlier this month as prisoner-swap negotiation played out between Australia, Iran and Thailand.

John McLeod, the figure behind Tora Solutions, was close by as the events unfolded, the Herald Sun reported – like he had been when Bail prisoner Sara Conor was released from jail earlier this year and when Adam Whittington was whirled away from Beirut following the 60 Minutes child abduction saga in 2016.

His clandestine spy craft was highly publicised after Corby escaped a waiting media pack in 2014.

Mr McLeod used 10 decoy cars with blacked out windows to create a diversion while the two made their getaway in another vehicle.  

John Mcleod and Schapelle Corby are pictured together at the Brisbane International Tennis tournament

John Mcleod and Schapelle Corby are pictured together at the Brisbane International Tennis tournament 

John Mcleod and Schapelle Corby are pictured in a light-hearted photo after avoiding  paparazzi in 2017

John Mcleod and Schapelle Corby are pictured in a light-hearted photo after avoiding  paparazzi in 2017

Although he has not spoken publicly, McLeod posted a message to Instagram earlier this week along with footage of Ms Moore-Gilbert.

‘Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been released from an Iranian jail in exchange for three Iranian prisoners held in custody abroad,’ the caption said.

‘International Crisis and Security Management. Assurance Protection Stability. Since 1990.’

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to Tora Solutions for comment. 

Ms Moore-Gilbert was not told about her release or the prisoner sway until the day she boarded the plane.

‘They moved her to (a) safe house in Sanaee Street for 17 days then suddenly asked her to collect her stuff and move back to Evin (Prison) on November 24.’

‘Someone from the Australian Embassy met her and asked her to sign paperwork and be ready to leave.’

The source also said she was made to confess to being an Isaeli spy with the promise she would get to leave the country.

The video was later broadcast on Iranian state TV. 

Pictured: Health officials and the Australian Defence Force wait for Dr Moore-Gilbert to disembark jet

Pictured: Health officials and the Australian Defence Force wait for Dr Moore-Gilbert to disembark jet

On Friday afternoon, she finally arrived back on Australian soil and celebrated her return to Australia with a coffee and Tim Tam after spending more than two years in an Iranian prison.

Dr Moore-Gilbert was met by public health officials and members of the Australian Defence Force after disembarking from a plane at Canberra Airport. 

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Dr Moore-Gilbert will have to quarantine before re-entering the community. 

Sources told the Herald Sun Dr Moore-Gilbert celebrated her return home in an understated way.

‘Kylie had her first decent cup of coffee in two years on the plane, and a Tim Tam,’ the source said. 

She was seen walking across the tarmac before being escorted into a van on Friday afternoon.   

Dr Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer on Middle Eastern studies at Melbourne University, was arrested at Tehran’s airport in 2018 after attending an academic conference.

She was sent to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on espionage charges. She has always strenuously denied the charges. 

Multiple diplomatic and senior government sources confirmed that Dr Moore-Gilbert was stopped at the airport in 2018 after authorities discovered she was in a relationship with an Israeli citizen, according to The Age

She was freed after more than six months of high-level negotiations between Iran, Australia and Thailand, led by the chief of Australia’s intelligence community member Nick Warner. 

Australian authorities, including Ms Payne who met her Iranian counterpart and discussed Dr Moore-Gilbert’s case on four occasions, pursued a strategy of ‘quiet diplomacy’. 

Dr Moore-Gilbert flew into Canberra from the Middle East on Friday afternoon

Dr Moore-Gilbert flew into Canberra from the Middle East on Friday afternoon

Dr Moore-Gilbert is seen following her release from an Iranian prison

Dr Moore-Gilbert is seen following her release from an Iranian prison 

The country’s involved agreed not to publicly discuss the deal because of the sensitive diplomatic nature, however, a news website affiliated to state television in Iran first reported the prisoner swap. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday that he had spoken to Dr Moore-Gilbert and she was in good spirits. 

The Australian government has refused to confirm that the academic’s freedom was extracted through a prisoner swap.

‘The Australian government doesn’t acknowledge or confirm any such arrangement regarding any release of any other persons in any other places,’ Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

‘If other people are being released in other places, they are the decisions of the sovereign governments in those places.’

Iranian media claimed three of the country’s citizens were released on Thursday in exchange for Dr Gilbert-Moore.

Thailand said it had transferred three Iranians involved in a botched 2012 bomb plot back to Tehran, but declined to call it a swap.  

Pictured: Dr Moore-Gilbert is escorted onto a van after getting off a plane in Canberra

Pictured: Dr Moore-Gilbert is escorted onto a van after getting off a plane in Canberra

Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured above) spent more than two years behind bars in Iran after she was imprisoned on espionage offences

Kylie Moore-Gilbert (pictured above) spent more than two years behind bars in Iran after she was imprisoned on espionage offences 

Dr Moore-Gilbert’s family said they were ‘relieved and ecstatic’ while the lecturer herself expressed her ‘love and admiration for the great nation of Iran and its warm-­hearted, generous and brave ­people’. 

Despite her harrowing ordeal, Dr Moore-Gilbert refuses to blame Iran’s people for her wrongful imprisonment.

‘It is with bittersweet feelings that I depart your country, despite the injustices which I have been subjected to,’ she said.

‘I came to Iran as a friend and with friendly intentions, and ­depart Iran with those sentiments not only still intact, but strengthened.’  

Dr Moore-Gilbert (pictured) described her release as 'bittersweet' despite the injustices she was subjected to in Iran

Dr Moore-Gilbert (pictured) described her release as ‘bittersweet’ despite the injustices she was subjected to in Iran

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