Monday, February 01, 2016

FREE - Matthew Trevithick

"American released from Iran prison describes solitary confinement, constant surveillance" by Larisa Epatko, PBS NewsHour 1/28/2016


Matthew Trevithick, the fifth American released from Iran’s notorious Evin Prison this month, described being watched in the months leading up to his detention and the treatment by his interrogators.

Foreigners are openly watched on the streets; their emails and Skype conversations are monitored, he told PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan on Thursday.  “You just accept it as the cost of being in Iran.”

A photo Trevithick posted on Twitter perfectly illustrated the combination of Iran’s deep beauty and scrutinizing surveillance, he said.

Trevithick, who was not a part of the prisoner exchange but was released at the same time as the others, was picked up by Iranian authorities as he was leaving Tehran University to buy an airplane ticket home for the holidays.

“I had a simple check-in system with my mother” of texting each day.  When he no longer replied, it triggered her concern, he said.

“I was arrested and accused of trying to overthrow the Iranian government.  They said I had access to bank accounts with millions of dollars in them, and that I knew the locations of weapons caches around the country,” he said, adding that they weren’t happy when he told them all he had were some Farsi textbooks and a pencil.

In all, Trevithick spent 41 days in the prison, 29 of them in solitary confinement.  The six-by-seven-foot cell was empty except for a thin rug.  Everything was worn, including the flip-flops they gave him to wear, indicating that many people passed through before him and many would likely follow.  “In a very bizarre way, you take a small bit of comfort that you’re not alone in being in this less than desirable place.”

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