“These answers will lead us nowhere, and you will stay here for years. Tell us the truth. How much have you received to write these offenses against the Islamic state? How are you and your fellow Web loggers organized?”
How should I respond? I knew my mother must be terribly worried about me. What could I say to make sure I got out?
“We are not organized against the state,” I said. “I write because I want to criticize the system. There are some things in our state that should be corrected.” “Why don’t you write an e-mail directly to the supreme leader’s office?” he asked. “The supreme leader considers all criticisms and takes corrective actions.”
…. I remained in prison for 36 days. Now I am awaiting trial. On my release I was reminded, “Be thankful to God that we arrested you. If you had been detained by the intelligence department of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, they would surely have beaten you. Here you were our guest.”
Before I departed I was politely asked to fill out a form seeking suggestions for improving conditions in the jail.
Would Stalin have been so droll?
UPDATE: Sometimes you just can’t win. I’m not sure why anyone is interpreting a comparison between Iran and Stalinist Russia as anything other than condemnation, but several commenters are doing just that. Be assured I have nothing but contempt for a country that treats its critics like this.