Brilliant multimedia, multi-part feature in Mother Jones by Shane Bauer, one of the American hikers who was arrested by Iranian authorities on the Iran-Iraq border, then placed in solitary, then eventually released.
In this investigative feature, Bauer goes inside the notorious isolation units of California's Pelican Bay prison.
Even before reading the piece or watching the video, one has to respect the man for the sheer pain of the PTSD that must have induced. This is just 7 months after he was freed from prison in Iran, and was his first time behind bars since being released.
"So when you're in Iran and in solitary confinement," asks my guide, Lieutenant Chris Acosta, "was it different?" His tone makes clear that he believes an Iranian prison to be a bad place.
He's right about that. After being apprehended on the Iran-Iraq border, Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and I were held in Evin Prison's isolation ward for political prisoners. Sarah remained there for 13 months, Josh and I for 26 months. We were held incommunicado. We never knew when, or if, we would get out. We didn't go to trial for two years. When we did we had no way to speak to a lawyer and no means of contesting the charges against us, which included espionage. The alleged evidence the court held was "confidential."
What I want to tell Acosta is that no part of my experience—not the uncertainty of when I would be free again, not the tortured screams of other prisoners—was worse than the four months I spent in solitary confinement.
"Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons." (Mother Jones, thanks Mike Mechanic)