Roxana Saberi Book Tour on Campus
Apr 16, 2010Roxana Saberi ’97 took the stage April 15 at Concordia to give a voice to her story and the stories of political prisoners in Iran. She had it all written down. Her book “Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran,” detailed her nearly four-month imprisonment in Iran’s Evin Prison. The book also gave an understanding to other people’s stories - those of the Iranian people whom Saberi, a freelance journalist, had grown to love.
Saberi moved to Iran seven years ago to learn more about the country where her father was born. The dual American and Iranian national worked as a freelance journalist for major news organizations, including National Public Radio, ABC News and the British Broadcasting Corp. After the Iranian government revoked her press credentials, Saberi stayed in Iran to write a book about Iranian people and the culture. In January 2009, she was arrested, charged with espionage and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Saberi explained her imprisonment at the event “A Conversation with Roxana Saberi,” hosted by President Pamela Jolicoeur.
“I knew what Evin prison was,” Saberi said as she shared the awful things she had heard about the detention center. “I knew some political prisoners went there for months, even years, and some didn’t come out. So I was obviously terrified.”
Saberi says in the first days of her imprisonment she remembered some political prisoners who gave forced televised confessions were set free and later they recanted their statements. So she provided her interrogators a false confession. Later she realized she couldn’t stand the guilt of lying for her freedom and recanted. After being held for three months, Saberi was released May 11, 2009 with her charges reduced to a two-year suspended sentence.
Saberi told the audience she had vowed not to cry until she left prison and then she would cry tears of joy. The day she was released, she did cry, but the feelings were different than what she had expected.
“I realized my tears were not only tears of joy at my freedom,” Saberi says. “They were also tears of sorrow at all those innocent prisoners I was leaving behind.”
Saberi signed books after the formal portion of the event and visited with audience members including students who had helped with the campus yellow ribbon campaign during her imprisonment.
View Saberi’s Web site