Iranian Scholar, Haleh Esfandiari Freed from Evin Prison

After over 100 days in captivity and months of pressure from US-Academics and the government, today Iran's judiciary freed imprisoned scholar Haleh Esfandiari after her $3 billion Iranian rials ($330,000 USD) in bail money was posted. The $330,000 was raised by Dr Esfandiari's elderly mother who used the deed to her home in Tehran to pay the debt. In the United States, family, friends, and colleagues are rejoicing with the news that Dr Esfandiari is one-step closer to returning to her post at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

 

The Woodrow Wilson Center issued a statement for immediate release this afternoon, with Director Lee Hamilton stating, "We thank all who offered their prayers and their efforts on behalf of Haleh’s release. An extraordinary amount of people from around the world rallied to Haleh’s side. We have had many interlocutors—official and non-official—on Haleh’s behalf. We have had many staff members at the Wilson Center who worked tirelessly in the hope that this day would come. This outpouring only reinforces Haleh’s life’s work on behalf of dialogue, understanding, and bringing people together.”

 

Although the charges against Dr Esfandiari have not been dismissed, her release from Evin Prison remains a hopeful sign that the efforts of grassroots diplomacy and non-partisanship will bring her home.

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About Elle Alexandra Jerome

A. Scheherezada Jerome is an Anglo-Ottoman Instructor of Islamic Studies at York College of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Dickinson College in 2003 with a self-developed major in Middle Eastern Studies and Spanish. In 2004, she graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with an M.A. in Islamic Societies and Cultures. Finally, in 2005 she finished her second M.A. in Gender and Identity in the Middle East (Summa Cum Laude) at the University of Exeter. After finishing the first stages of her postgraduate work, she was an intern in Women’s Affairs at the Embassy of Afghanistan. In addition to her academic work, she manages her non-profits, The Shaherazade Project and Women Against Crimes of Honor. She’s also the coordinator for postgraduate students in the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. Currently, in addition to her teaching duties she is the editor of Kohl an anthology of Muslim-American women’s writing to be published in 2007 and is working on research for her second novel, Hürrem Sultan.

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