October 16, 2013 In September, Iranian President Rouhani granted amnesty to 12 political prisoners as he made his way to an annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. But former Evin prison inmate and 2009 IWMF Courage in Journalism Awardee, Jila Baniyaghoob, cautions this isolated act does not signify democratic momentum.
We heard a lot of noise, inside and outside of Iran, she said. But we have more than one thousand political prisoners. The judiciary officials have promised the release of more than 80 prisoners, but there is no follow up news. Chances are, they may never be released.
Determined to keep the international community vigilant, Baniyaghoob published a memoir, chronicling the time she spent inside Tehrans Evin prison for her work as a journalist. An interview with the author reveals that Women of Evin: Ward 209 is more than a detailed account of the physical and emotional tortures she endured for giving voice to Iranian women. This book is a symbol of resiliency that took a great deal of determination and courage to complete.