Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Freed Iranian-American Scholar Returns to U.S.

For some months now, AT has been following the case of Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari, who was held prisoner for more than 100 days in a Tehran prison. Esfandiari was released August 21 and returned to her home in Maryland a few days ago.

Esfandiari, an official at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, told NPR recently that she was grilled by Iranian interrogators for as many as eight hours a day during her three months of captivity. She said she was neither mentally nor physically mistreated.

In an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep in her office, Esfandiari said she was "disappointed in Iran, [but] I'm not angry at it."

She added: "I'm angry because I wasted eight months of my life. And when you are 67 years old, eight months is a long time. I was very much disappointed that they misunderstood what I did at the Wilson Center. That bothered me."

Esfandiari's captivity should bother a lot of people, especially people who believe in freedom of free inquiry, free speech and civil liberties.

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