|Title||Exile or Prison?|
|Format||14.8 x 21 cm|
|Year of publication||2021|
|Publisher||New Thought PRESS|
Exile or prison is a three-chapter book wherein the Iranian author, lawyer, religious scholar, poet, and activist, Sedigheh Vasmaghi, faces the choice or lack thereof between exile and imprisonment. Its first chapter discusses the overwhelming decision-making process, weighing out the concerns of Vasmaghi and her husband, Mohammad, on what it would mean to live far from home and family in exile. Sentenced to five years imprisonment in absentia while abroad on university fellowships in Germany and Sweden, she was aware that she would be arrested at the airport upon their return home. Asking herself why they must be deprived of their home she laments the injustices which they face and are forced to endure in either case.
The second chapter illustrates the events at the time of arrival. The main subject of this chapter is the author’s trial in the Islamic Revolutionary Court wherein she exposes the unjust and unlawful trial procedures that this court operates on. This is notable, insofar as over the past 4 decades numerous people have been sentenced to severe decrees, execution, and long-term imprisonment by this court in which judges leave procedural law unconsidered.
The third chapter describes the time the author serves in prison at Evin. She portrays the conditions of all detainees who are in prison with her, including her own. It illuminates the state of prisons in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Notably, the Evin Prison is considered the highest standard in security and livability, telling of far worse conditions in other prisons. In this last chapter the writer monologically discusses with herself the question of ‘exile or prison?’ amid these experiences. How does she evaluate her choice in retrospect? Was returning home the right one? In staying true to herself, she searches for honest answers to questions she is confronted with in prison, questions that matter beyond one’s own life.