“The prisoner’s worst nightmare is the thought of being forgotten,” wrote Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari after his release from Iran’s Evin prison. He was detained for 118 days after he reported on the demonstrations following Iran’s disputed election, one year ago this weekend. He fled the country after his release and was later sentenced, in absentia, to 13 years in prison and 74 lashes.
Bahari was one of thousands of people – over 5,000 according to official statements but probably many more – who were arrested during the mass demonstrations which first erupted on June 13, 2009. Most have now been released, often after suffering torture including beatings, rape and solitary confinement in small spaces for long periods. Some have returned to prison to begin serving custodial sentences, usually after being convicted in unfair trials on the basis of “confessions” that were forced out of them in detention.