By Jila Baniyaghoob**
translated by Hossein Shahidi
Bahman(Ahmadi-amouee), an imprisoned journalist, has been in jail for eight months for his
work in the media. Today I had my third twenty-minute face-to-face meeting
with him in all these months.
I had been so missing a long talk with Bahman, and I had written down the
key points of what I wanted to tell him on a small piece of paper.
It’s an amazing feeling: to be with someone you used to talk to for several
hours every day, using a note to tell him what you want to say. And if he’s
interested in political and social news, more than half the time will be
spent on giving him the headlines.
Another amazing feature of Evin prison is that you, the visitor, don’t have
the right to take a present, no matter how small, to your loved one. For
instance, it is forbidden to take any type of foodstuff, even a small bar of
chocolate or a green apple. But the prisoner can give the visitor something
small to eat, or a present, usually made by the prisoners. Of course, this
is possible only during face-to-face meetings, not when you have a meeting
in a ‘cabin’, seeing the prisoner through a glass window and talking to him
on the phone.
You have a mixture of sweet and bitter feelings when you receive a gift from
your imprisoned loved one. You know that your loved one who has very limited
resources in prison has still tried to get you the best of what there is to
eat - foodstuff that he has bought from Evin’s little shop at several times
the price. Apparently, at the Evin shop everything is more expensive than
You know that he might have deprived himself of eating or drinking something
that he likes, saving it for when you meet him. If you don’t eat, you’ll
spoil all his plans to make you happy. And if you do eat, you’ll feel
For instance, Bahman had brought me a small can of pineapple preserve, which
he knows that I like. I can buy the same pineapple preserve from any shop