Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison—Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me So
Monday, January, 28th, 2019 || 7pm Angelico Hall|| Dominican University of California || 20 Olive Avenue, San Rafael California || www.bookpassage.com
Please join me, the folks at Book Passage, and a host of local writer Jason Rezaian’s friends and admirers at Dominican University, San Rafael for his interview with W. Kamau Bell.
Buy tickets here: https://www.bookpassage.com/Rezaian
Some of us remember Jason from his halcyon days in the Bay Area before the ordeal. In the country of his ancestors, far from his Bay Area roots and idyllic childhood, this young journalist found himself in a nightmare straight out of a Kafka novel.
Working in Tehran he was suddenly arrested, imprisoned and held, sometimes in total darkness, in a high-security prison in Tehran for 544 days, a hostage trapped in a lethal web of politics and culture.
About the Book:
In July 2014, Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian was arrested by Iranian police, accused of spying for America. The charges were absurd. Rezaian’s reporting was a mix of human interest stories and political analysis. He had even served as a guide for Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Initially, Rezaian thought the whole thing was a terrible misunderstanding, but soon realized that it was much more dire as it became an eighteen-month prison stint with impossibly high diplomatic stakes.
While in prison, Rezaian had tireless advocates working on his behalf. His brother lobbied political heavyweights including John Kerry and Barack Obama and started a social media campaign—#FreeJason—while Jason’s wife navigated the red tape of the Iranian security apparatus, all while the courts used Rezaian as a bargaining chip in negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal.
In Prisoner, Rezaian writes of his exhausting interrogations and farcical trial. He also reflects on his idyllic childhood in Northern California and his bond with his Iranian father, a rug merchant; how his teacher Christopher Hitchens inspired him to pursue journalism; and his life-changing decision to move to Tehran, where his career took off and he met his wife. Written with wit, humor, and grace, Prisoner brings to life a fascinating, maddening culture in all its complexity.
“An important story. Harrowing, and suspenseful, yes—but it’s also a deep dive into a complex and egregiously misunderstood country with two very different faces. There is no better time to know more about Iran—and Jason Rezaian has seen both of those faces.”— Anthony Bourdain
“Jason paid a deep price in defense of journalism and his story proves that not everyone who defends freedom carries a gun, some carry a pen.”
—John F. Kerry, 68th Secretary of State