GlobalPost Reporter On His Weeks in Iran’s Evin Prison

GlobalPost correspondent Iason Athanasiadis, while reporting on the demonstrations in Tehran, was arrested and held in Evin jail for three weeks. Here, Athanasiadis writes about his experience and about Majid Saeedi, a friend and photographer (who has shot for Getty Images and Time) who was also recently arrested:

Last month, I was arrested in Tehran and held in jail for three weeks in an effort to stifle my on-the-ground reporting and intimidate me.

Now the powers that be have decided that it is Majid’s turn to be strapped to the wheel of suffering.

…[Majid] disappeared into the waiting maw of Evin, a prison I had vacated just the prior Sunday after becoming the first foreign journalist to be detained by the Islamic Republic. At the time, Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Ejhei described me as being “disguised as a journalist and he was collecting information needed by the enemies.” The sum total of the evidence presented against me by my interrogators over three weeks of questioning were two surveillance pictures of me chatting with a British diplomat at a conference in Qom in 2005. They presented them to me, seemingly convinced that it would be enough to prompt a confession of guilt.

These are the kinds of unsubstantiated charges that panicked Islamic Republic officials are now presenting to the hundreds of detainees being funnelled into Iran’s sprawling prison bureaucracy…

Iran has become the world’s pre-eminent jailer of journalists with 41 media workers currently incarcerated, according to Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders. At the current rate, Iran is “on the way to becoming the world’s most dangerous place for them to operate,” charged the organization on Sunday.

UPDATE: Via Romenesko, over 100 journalists (including Ted Koppel, Fareed Zakaria, Christiane Amanpour, Jon Lee Anderson, and Tom Friedman) have signed a petition calling for the release of another journalist jailed in Iran, Newsweek’s Maziar Bahari.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.