Sepideh Kashani was an administrator at the now-defunct Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Iran’s premier conservation NGO. She was as well-behaved and unassuming a prisoner as the guards could have asked for. Despite the fact that we were being held in a maximum-security detention facility, the guards sometimes forgot to close the door of her cell, and Sepideh would pull it closed herself.
Both of us spent most of our time in solitary confinement, but for a time we shared a small, cramped cell. Forced to wear blindfolds every time we left it, Sepideh would pull hers firmly over her eyes and stumble around on the arm of the guard, whereas I was forever getting in trouble for wearing mine high on my forehead, my roving eyes registering every detail of the detention site and the shady, nameless individuals who ran it.