Iranian authorities allowed Esha Momeni, an American graduate student and feminist activist who was imprisoned and then detained by the Iranian government, to return to the US yesterday. Momeni’s passport had been confiscated by the Iranian government after her release from the notorious Evin prison in November 2008. Women’s rights activists and journalists Shadi Sadr and Roxana Saberi are among those to have been held at Evin prison.
Momeni was arrested on supposed traffic violations in October 2008 while working on her masters thesis, which involved interviewing Iranian women’s rights activists involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign. A number of activists associated with the campaign have been arrested and imprisoned in recent years.
Momeni describes her detention on her blog: “I was in Evin prison for 28 days, 25 of which [were] in solitary confinement. I had 19 interrogation sessions, sometimes starting from morning till night during which I was constantly trying to convince the interrogators of the truth, that I am a student working on my thesis and not part of a project to overthrow the government.” Now that she has returned to the US, 9 months after being released from prison, Momeni will resume her studies at California State University-Northridge. According to the Daily Sundial, Momeni said “I didn’t believe I was leaving until I got into the plane, they closed the plane’s door and started going.”