Thursday, May 28, 2009

Prison diary

Roxana Saberi on her imprisonment in Iran for 100 days at the Evin prison... 

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.

... Well, when I was in solitary confinement was probably the most difficult time for me. And I prayed a lot — I prayed more than I ever have in my whole life. At first, I used to worry a lot about my parents not knowing where I was. At first, I just felt very afraid. But then I realized that I need to turn this challenge into an opportunity, and maybe this challenge can make me stronger, mentally and spiritually. And when I made the false confession, after that, I realized that I had made a mistake and I needed to try to right my wrongs, even if it meant that I would suffer. As long as I did the right thing, in the long run, in the end, I would be victorious.

This was one of the lessons I learned there. And also, I learned that maybe other people can hurt my body, maybe they could imprison me, but I did not need to fear those who hurt my body, because they could not hurt my soul, unless I let them. So I think these experiences, they taught me a lot and I learned a lot from the other political prisoners there, too — the other women — because after several weeks, I was put into a cell with them. Many of those women were there because they are standing up for human rights or the freedom of belief or expression.

Many of them are still there today; they don't enjoy the kind of international support that I did. And they're not willing to give in to pressures to make false confessions or to sign off to commitments not to take part in their activities once they're released; they would rather stay in prison and stand up for those principles that they believe in.

1 comment:

Tree said...

I'm so happy she was released.