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Sarah Shourd in Solitary Conifnement

Sarah Shourd was held in solitary confinement in Evin prison, in Iran, for 410 days until her release on bail on 14th September 2010, after a world-wide campaign.

Sarah's fiance Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal were finally released a year later, on 21st September 2011.

August 5, 2010

Unexpected Phone Call

Nora Shourd received a new phone call from her daughter Sarah, only the second in more than 12 months.

“Sarah told me she is still being held alone in her cell and had not had any more medical tests.

She said she had been allowed to call me for her birthday but it was strange because her birthday is August 10 and Shane and Josh were both denied birthday phone calls home.

I could hear voices in the background and it just made it clear to me that Iran is using them for its own political purposes."


In a press statement, Nora Shourd also said she has written to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, asking him to to intervene urgently with the Iranian authorities to end her daughter’s solitary confinement.

Nora Shourd said she had submitted her request this week in light of Iran’s continued failure to move her daughter out of isolation or confirm that she is receiving proper medical treatment.

Sarah Shourd, 31, has a pre-cancerous condition and recently told her mother that she had discovered a lump in her breast. She also suffers from depression.

The Special Rapporteur on Torture

The Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Manfred Nowak of Austria, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention operate under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, an inter-governmental body established by the U.N. General Assembly.

The Special Rapporteur’s mandate allows him to act in cases of solitary confinement and denial of medical treatment. The Working Group’s definition of arbitrary detention includes “the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial.”