Thursday, May 28, 2009

Roxana Saberi Talks About Iranian Prison

Let me take you back just a bit to those interrogations in Evin prison. Can you describe what that was like? Was there any physical threat? Was it purely psychological threat?

I was under severe psychological and mental pressure, although I was not physically tortured. The first few days, I was interrogated for several hours, from morning until evening, blindfolded, facing a wall, by up to four men, and threatened, as I said, that I would be put in prison for 10 to 20 years or more or even face execution. And I was in solitary confinement for several days. The really difficult thing was they didn't let me tell anyone where I was.

For how long?

I never told anybody where I was. When I called my parents for the first time, my interrogators pressured me to tell my parents that I didn't know where I was, [that] I was somewhere in Tehran, but I didn't know where and that I had been detained for buying alcohol but that I would be freed in a few days. And they asked me to tell my parents, "Don't tell the media; don't announce it." They told me, "If your parents talk about it in the media, we won't free you." I later found out that the person who became my first attorney had gone to Evin prison and asked if I was there and was told no. So it took a long time for them to find out where I was. Listen to the whole interview at NPR