A Canadian-Iranian journalist who spent nearly four months in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison says he was so desperate after being tortured that he considered committing suicide by slitting his wrists.
Maziar Bahari, a Newsweek correspondent, was arrested on June 21 after covering the crackdown on protesters and reformist politicians following the country’s disputed presidential elections.
He told CNN on Sunday that he knew he was being taken to Evin prison and thought of all the people he had interviewed who were tortured in the jail.
It is also the prison where Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was beaten to death in 2003.
He said his interrogators were “masters of psychological torture” and accused him of being a spy.
“My interrogator told me I was going to be executed everyday.
“I was living with the threat of execution everyday for almost three months.”
Bahari said he contemplated suicide twice, thinking he would use the lenses of his glasses to cut his wrist, and wondering “how long it would take to bleed to death.”
But then, he said, he thought of his family, his pregnant wife and decided that he would not be his own executioner.
“Why should I do their job for them. If they want to kill me they can do it themselves. I am not going to be their executioner.”
Bahari said the jailer was trying to put him under a lot of psychological pressure so he would name people and fabricate facts and stories.
Bahari said he was kicked, punched and slapped but admitted “the psychological torture was much more effective” than the physical torture.
He was kept in solitary confinement and called it the most difficult part of being in prison, saying it is “as if you were in a grave.”
He credited an massive international campaign for his release last month.
Iranian officials allowed him to travel to the U.K. just in time to see the birth of his first child.
Bahari said there were also absurd moments.
His interrogators wanted to know about his interview in Iran by Jason Jones “correspondent” for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that happened about a week before his arrest.