News Alert: NTY Op-Ed page discovers Iran isn’t dreamland

Roger Cohen’s columns notwithstanding, The New York Times Op-Ed page finally seems to have discovered some imperfections in Iran (at least, the online edition did).

In a blogpost Monday signed "The Editors," the Times examines the fate of people detained in Iranian prisons. What can detainees in Iran — like Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi — expect? Solitary confinement, torture, insults and more:

I was arrested in fall 2004 because of my work as a political editor for several reformist newspapers in Iran, as well as my critical comments about the regime on my blog and on other Web sites.

I spent 60 days in solitary confinement, where I was released only three times a day to use a bathroom for two to three minutes under camera surveillance. I was interrogated and tortured for days on end. Security agents blindfolded me and beat me repeatedly, pushing my head into the wall and onto a desk. They asked me questions about my relations with other journalists, particularly women, and with Westerners, and they constantly insulted my family.

I felt alone and was afraid for my life. I had no contact with the outside world — not even a newspaper. The interrogators told me — convinced me — that my friends and colleagues had forgotten about me. While in prison, I was charged with eight different counts of “participation in societies,” “propagating against the state,” publication of lies, “insulting the leader” and public disturbance. I was given no opportunity to defend myself.

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