AirTalk for June 10, 2011

Love, captivity and survival in an Iranian prison

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Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Journalist Maziar Bahari (L) and Head of Amnesty International Larry Cox speak during a rally calling for Iranian officials to reverse prison sentences of Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof on June 8, 2011 in New York City.

In 2009, journalist Maziar Bahari kissed his pregnant wife goodbye and left his home in London for Iran. Bahari, an Iranian-born journalist, documentary filmmaker and human rights activist, had been sent by Newsweek to cover the presidential election between popular progressive candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi and incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadenijad. But upon landing, he was immediately seized by the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards and arrested under the false charge of espionage. Bahari’s new book is the harrowing account of his 118 days of imprisonment in a six-by-twelve foot cell and brutal interrogation at the hands of the Guards. Ironically, his father and sister had both shared a similar fate – his father was incarcerated and tortured in the 1950’s under the Shah, and his sister under Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1980’s. It was thoughts of their strength, as well the desire to see his unborn child, that inspired Bahari throughout his long ordeal. Much more than a prison account, Then They Came for Me is both a family saga told against the backdrop of Iran’s volatile modern political history and a brilliant insight into the future of the country.

Guest:

Maziar Bahari, correspondent for Newsweek and co-author of Then They Came for Me, with Aimee Molloy


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