For months while he was jailed in Iran’s most notorious prison, Jason Rezaian slept on a cold, roach-infested floor. His guards would use lights and a loud fan to keep him awake. When it became too difficult to rest, prison officials gave him tranquilizers so he could fall asleep.
These are among the harrowing details that have been revealed in a lawsuit filed Monday by the Rezaian family against Iran and the Revolutionary Guard. The lawsuit states Rezaian, as well as his wife, mother and brother, suffered irreparable harm as a result of torture, hostage-taking and acts of terrorism.
Excerpts in the lawsuit paint a grim picture of the family while Rezaian was in jail. The suit reveals both Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and his brother, Ali Rezaian, contemplated suicide to raise more public outrage for his cause and Iran’s actions, and that the family continues to fear backlash from the Iranian government.
Below are some of the most harrowing details from the lawsuit:
1. Iranian agents first confronted Rezaian and Salehi at their apartment building on July 22, 2014, keeping them at their apartment as agents rifled through their belongings.
2. Rezaian and his wife were taken to Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. They were promptly separated and interrogated. Rezaian was placed in solitary confinement.
3. Prison guards denied Rezaian sleep, and he slept on the floor.
4. Rezaian changed cells only after 50 days in solitary confinement, but he was still kept isolated.
5. Rezaian was routinely denied any medical care for his high blood pressure. He rapidly lost about 50 pounds as a result of stress and malnourishment, and he developed intestinal issues.
6. Rezaian's interrogators questioned him for hours while he was blindfolded and changed their tactics to force a confession.
7. Iranian officials recorded Rezaian, hoping to create a legal basis for his imprisonment at the General Assembly.
8. Rezaian's wife was allowed to see him only three times during her imprisonment, which was almost all in solitary confinement.
9. Yeganeh often faced psychological torment. She was denied water for almost the entire day and was repeatedly threatened.
10. Iranian law requires the trial date to be set at least 12 days beforehand. But that wasn't the case for Jason, whose counsel was often left in the dark about his trial dates and verdicts.