By Jila Baniyaghoob
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
It’s been three years, three years since the day when they arrested me and my spouse (Bahman Ahmadi-Amouee) in our home. It was June 20, at night. Later on the neighbors said two cars with eight agents had been stationed a bit further down from our house since 8pm.
Bahman had arrived home earlier than me. Apparently, the agents had been waiting for me to arrive also. Those days, both Bahman and I were ready to be arrested. Those days we were all ready. Apparently, we were even ready for death.
That evening, the security agents searched our home. They messed up everything. They took away our books, our CDs, even our clothes … lots of things. They took all of that to Evin with us.
The same evening, two agents were sitting in one of the rooms, enthusiastically looking at the albums of our personal photographs.
‘What right have you got to look at people’s personal pictures?’ I asked.
‘We have religious authorization to look at any picture,’ one of them said, without raising his head from the album.
‘Religious authorization?’ To this day, whenever I look at an album, these words swirl around in my brain: ‘religious authorization.’
They took many of the albums with them. Even albums of our wedding pictures. What could be the use of those pictures to them?
The first days, I was in solitary. I would be interrogated ten to twelve hours every day, sometimes seventeen-eighteen hours. The interrogator was very active and highly motivated. He would even come to Evin’s Ward 209 for interrogation on Fridays (the weekend in Iran). Some interrogators were gentle; some were rough; some were polite; some impolite …
But they would all use threats. Some would use threats very gently, smiling while saying: ‘We’ll execute you! You’ll see. This is not like before. This is very different from the other times you’ve been in prison. This time, it’s like the 1980s. You have been waging war [against God].’
Sometimes I would not believe the threats, and sometimes I would. Apparently, I had become superstitious. I would tell myself: ‘I was arrested on 20 June. 20 June is a fateful day in Iran’s history. On the same day in 1981, a lot happened in Iran. After that day, many were executed in Iran’s prisons.’ I would tell myself that maybe the same fate was awaiting me and Bahman, who had been arrested on such a day!
I learned later on that Bahman and many other detainees had also been repeatedly threatened with death.
Sixty days later, I was released on a relatively heavy bail. But Bahman is still in prison. Before being transferred to a common ward, he spent three months in solitary confinement. A small cell, without ventilation or a cooling system … What a hot and difficult summer it was. Bahman’s still spending his days and nights in prison.
Bahman is only a journalist. Bahman is in prison only because of his critical articles. Bahman has not committed any crime other than writing articles. Apparently, these days writing articles, especially critical articles, can be the most serious crime.
Translated by Hossein shahidi