On the morning of January 31, 2009, Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist working in Iran, was forced from her home by four men and secretly detained in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. The intelligence agents who captured her accused her of espionage—a charge she denied. For several days, Saberi was held in solitary confinement, ruthlessly interrogated, and cut off from the outside world. For weeks, neither her family nor her friends knew her whereabouts.
After a sham trial that made headlines around the world, the thirty-one-year-old reporter was sentenced to eight years in prison. But following international pressure by family, friends, colleagues, various governments, and total strangers, she was released on appeal on May 11, 2009. Now Saberi breaks her silence to share the full account of her ordeal, describing in vivid detail the methods that Iranian hard-liners are using to try to intimidate and control many of the country's people.
In this gripping and inspirational true story, Saberi writes movingly of her imprisonment, her trial, her eventual release, and the faith that helped her through it all. Her recollections are interwoven with insights into Iranian society, the Islamic regime, and U.S.-Iran relations, as well as stories of her fellow prisoners—many of whom were jailed for their pursuit of human rights, including freedom of speech, association, and religion. Saberi gains strength and wisdom from her cellmates who support her throughout a grueling hunger strike and remind her of the humanity that remains, even when they are denied the most basic rights.
Between Two Worlds is also a deeply revealing account of this tumultuous country and the ongoing struggle for freedom that is being fought inside Evin Prison and on the streets of Iran. From her heartfelt perspective, Saberi offers a rich, dramatic, and illuminating portrait of Iran as it undergoes a striking, historic transformation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Saberi moved to Iran in 2003 to work as the Iran correspondent for the U.S.–based Feature Story News. She filed reports for organizations such as NPR, BBC, ABC Radio, and Fox News, and was working on a book about Iranian society when she was arrested on January 31, 2009. She was released on May 11, 2009.
Saberi grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, the daughter of Reza Saberi, who was born in Iran, and Akiko Saberi, who is from Japan. She was chosen Miss North Dakota in 1997 and was among the top ten finalists in the Miss America Pageant in 1998. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, with degrees in communications and French.
Saberi holds her first master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and her second master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge.
Roxana Saberi, a journalist, was working in Iran last year when she was forcibly taken from her home, held with no explained reason, and then arrested by intelligence agents of Iran. Having no contact with anyone but her captors, Saberi was charged with spying and later sentenced to eight years in Iran’s most notorious prison called Evin. The charges against Saberi were finally reduced after months of appeals, and she was released and was able to return home to the U.S.
Now in a brave memoir, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, Roxana Saberi tells of her captivity and how she was caught in the cruel clutches of her prejudiced, unjust captors. The conviction, from the very beginning, of this innocent young prisoner, was a result of her captors pursuit of imagined justice based on their own world of outrageous conspiracies. Saberi found that Evin was a place like no other where justice was an unknown conclusion, mercy was unthinkable, and God seemed nowhere to be found. It was in this dreadful place that Saberi was mentally and emotionally tortured under intense psychological pressure as well as threats. This finally caused her to breakdown and confess to something she did not do. But Roxana was stronger than even she herself knew. With determination she decided to face the injustice she and her fellow prisoners were dealt and retract her confession. Many cellmates that she came to know, gave her courage and strength to carry on. These “Angels of Evin” are women who Saberi admires for their suffering and yet continued fight for human rights. Her story in Evin prison and the following release back to freedom is a disturbingly upsetting, while revealing tale, but it is not the only story in BETWEEN TWO WORLDS.
In this book, beside showing what is going on with the political system in Iran and the challenges facing the people of this country, it also is an enlightening discourse about Iran as a country that many still love. Saveri tells of Iran's culture and history, as well as how the Islamic rule came to be in power. Saberi's narrative brilliantly relates to the reader about her love of Iran and its people, as well as that of America. She also is unwavering in her love, admiration, and respect for her family and friends. Her story was hard to tell but it was one she felt would not only let the readers know of the horrible experience she endured, but also bring light on her fellow prisoners who don’t have the international aid that Roxana had to help gain her freedom. They, the “Angels of Evin” and many others, continue to survive without any assistance and endure a life of denial and humiliation, that may someday, with people like Saveri speaking for them, come to be free and live a life they most surely deserve. A fascinating, important book, that moves quickly as you become so wrapped up in Roxana’s journey.