Stories of Others, continued. . . .
Four book chapters are dedicated to the poignant stories of my fellow prisoners, whose harrowing experiences sent shivers down my spine when I first heard them. But there are many more heroes in the book. Bijan, Mahaas, Chader, The Doctor, and many others played a role in my personal transformation. Without them, University of Solitude wouldn’t have been the same.
I have not forgotten these people, and I never will. After setting up a Google Alerts service, I receive mail notifications about new articles on the internet that mention Iranian prisoners. Searching through them, I try to discover what has happened to my friends from prison after my release from Evin. You’ll find the information below.
Heroes from the Book
Amir (not his real name), my business partner in Iran – Amir never attempted to contact me after my release, and he‘d most likely deny ever knowing me. However, according to the information on his Facebook page and Google plus profile, Amir is alive, a free man, and at the end of 2013 he welcomed his first child into the world. Whether he managed to rebuild his business after losing everything in 2012 because of our connection, I don’t know. His social media profiles indicate that he currently works as an engineer for a mid-sized IT company in Tehran.
The Captain – no news of release. The Captain most likely continues to serve his unjust ten-year sentence for “cooperation with the enemy” (meaning the U.S.).
Farshid Fathi – his six-year sentence was originally extended to eight years (due to a fabricated charge of hiding a bottle of alcohol in his prison cell), but Pastor Farshid was eventually released after serving “only” five years behind bars. Read more.
Kim “The Spy” – the bizarre case of this South Korean man has never been publicized in international media. We have no information about his trial. He might be free, or he might be serving a long sentence behind the gates of Evin Prison. Both are equally possible.
Eagle Boy – released after serving one year in prison. Whether he stayed in Iran or decided to emigrate and pursue his idealistic revolutionary goals abroad, we don‘t know.
Bijan – temporarily released on bail in the beginning of 2013. We have no idea what happened in to him later.
Mahaas – Mahaas, the smart and friendly Sunni Muslim, is likely still detained just because of his faith. . . .
Hamid – Hamid Ghassemi-Shall was released after his sentence was reduced from the death penalty to five-year imprisonment. He returned to Canada on October 10th, 2013. Read more.
Chader – most likely still imprisoned in Iran (or another country).
Saeed Abedini – a Christian pastor jailed in Iran since 2012 for allegedly setting up house churches, Saeed was one of four Iranian-Americans freed on January 16th, 2016 in a prisoner exchange negotiated with the U.S. as part of a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. Read more.
Reza and Reza (my first two cellmates) – facing charges after posting a political joke on his Facebook profile, the younger of the two Rezas was released in 2013. He deleted his Facebook account later, probably to avoid further problems. We have no information about the older Reza.