Tales from a Torture Chamber
In 2009, Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari spent more than three months in Iran's most notorious prison, Evin. His harrowing experience is the subject of his new memoir, Then They Came for Me (Random House).
Before being arrested, Bahari worked as a Newsweek reporter in the Islamic Republic. Mindful of the dangers of being a journalist in Iran, Bahari, who's Iranian-Canadian, produced documentaries and articles with sensitivity to the government's strict press laws. But when Iran's 2009 presidential election approached, pitting the unpopular incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against the more progressive Mir Hossein Mousavi, Bahari had a difficult decision to make. Ahmadinejad's previous term had not been a good one for the country; the economy performed poorly, unemployment was high, and frustration among the country's populous youth was growing. A progressive who promised to open Iran up to the world, Mousavi's chances looked good. But Bahari hesitated to cover the story. His wife, Paola, was pregnant with the couple’s first child at their home in London. He ultimately decided to go to Tehran, promising his wife that he’d come back to spend three uninterrupted months with her afterward.