The Liberal MP’s comments come amid unconfirmed reports that at least three prisoners may have contracted the COVID-19 infection in the Iranian prison where Dr Moore-Gilbert is being held.
Dr Moore-Gilbert, who most recently worked as a lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne, was arrested in September 2018 while at an educational conference. She was later convicted of espionage.
Mr Sharma, who met with the Iranian ambassador to Australia on Monday, said Dr Moore-Gilbert was being held far from home, in very trying conditions, and her future was bleak.
“In late 2019, Dr Moore-Gilbert was tried and convicted of espionage and sentenced to ten years in prison,” Mr Sharma said.
“It was a trial that was held in secret, and at which she did not appear to receive independent legal representation. An appeal against her sentence failed.”
“I know many in Australia are following the case of Julian Assange, including several members of Parliament who have taken a particular interest in this case. My own view is that I have faith in the rule of law, due process and the independence of the judiciary in the United Kingdom.”
He will get a fair hearing in court, and justice will ultimately be served.
Mr Sharma said the Wikileaks founder had “strong and independent legal representation in an open trial, and before an impartial judiciary”.
“The charges he faces are known, and he has a spirited defence team acting on his behalf,” he said.
“In one of Dr Moore-Gilbert’s letters, she wrote ‘I feel like I am abandoned and forgotten.’ Let us all do everything we can to let Dr Moore-Gilbert and her family know that we will not abandon her, that we will not forget her, and that we will advocate ceaselessly on her behalf to secure her release.”
In letters smuggled out of prison, Dr Moore-Gilbert said Iran tried to recruit her as a spy in exchange for her release, an offer she appears to have rejected.
She is serving a 10-year sentence but has described being shown two conflicting sentences: one outlining 13 months’ imprisonment and the other a decade-long term.
In a letter to her “case manager”, Dr Moore-Gilbert wrote: “Please accept this letter as an official and definitive rejection of your offer to me to work with the intelligence branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
Anthony is foreign affairs and national security correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.