Masking Emad Shargi’s lengthy journey dwelling

Masking Emad Shargi’s lengthy journey dwelling

Following an American’s lengthy journey dwelling from Iran



Brit McCandless Farmer

/ CBS Information

Masking Emad Shargi’s lengthy journey dwelling

Following an American’s long journey home from Iran


After being detained and imprisoned in Iran for greater than 5 years, American businessman Emad Shargi is again dwelling in America.

Face the Nation moderator and CBS Information chief international affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan has covered Shargi’s story for years, having interviewed his household a number of instances for CBS Information. Now that he is again on American soil, Shargi was lastly in a position to converse with Brennan himself, this time for 60 Minutes

Shargi mentioned he hopes to stop different Individuals from discovering themselves unjustly detained in Iran. He advised Brennan his message to fellow Individuals pondering of going to Iran is a warning. 

“Keep dwelling,” he mentioned. “Spare your loved ones the heartache. Spare your self the heartache. Do not go.”

Shargi and his spouse Bahareh are each Iranian-American. In 2016, when their grown daughters had left for faculty, they sought to rediscover the childhood dwelling they’d left a long time in the past. Having met in america, the Shargis had by no means skilled their native nation collectively. 

Though Shargi had recognized of different Iranian-Individuals who had been captured and wrongfully imprisoned in Iran — together with businessman Siamak Namazi and journalist Jason Rezaian — he mentioned he by no means imagined it could occur to him.  

“You at all times suppose that these individuals had finished one thing,” Shargi mentioned. “I believed to myself, ‘A authorities that oversees 85 million individuals simply would not randomly decide individuals off the road and maintain them.’ And then you definately understand when it occurs to you that, the truth is, that’s precisely what occurs.”

Locked up in Evin Jail

Late at night time in April 2018, about 15 armed brokers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed up on the household home the place the Shargis had been staying in Tehran. The guards arrested Shargi and took him to Iran’s infamous Evin Jail, the place he was accused of being a spy — a cost Shargi known as “ludicrous.”  After reviewing his case, the State Division decided that he was wrongfully detained.

Again at dwelling, Shargi’s household fought for his launch. It lastly occurred final September, as a part of an Iran–United States prisoner launch deal that gave Iran better entry to $6 billion of oil income that has been tied up due to U.S. sanctions. 

Throughout his dialog with Brennan for 60 Minutes, Shargi recalled the methods his Iranian interrogators tried to scare him into making a confession, together with threatening him with electrical shocks, waterboarding, and hanging. 

In addition they used psychological methods, Shargi mentioned. For the primary eight weeks he was held in Evin Jail, Shargi mentioned he did not know whether or not his spouse had additionally been imprisoned. She had not been, however his interrogators used his lack of know-how to their benefit. Shargi mentioned that when he heard ladies screaming down the corridor from his cell, his interrogators insinuated that it was his spouse. Cooperate and make the screaming cease, they mentioned.   

“I [didn’t] know if she was being tortured. I did not know if she was being raped. I [had] no concept,” Shargi mentioned. “That’s its personal type of torture.”

Deliver our households dwelling

When Shargi lastly returned to america final yr, he was met on the tarmac by his household, together with his sister, Neda Sharghi. Whereas her brother was imprisoned, Sharghi chaired a marketing campaign known as “Deliver Our Households Residence.” It’s an effort led by relations whose family members are being detained in nations like China, Iran, and Russia. 

In July 2022, the group put up a mural within the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It options images of the faces of some Individuals detained overseas. Designed by Iowan artist Isaac Campbell, the black-and-white mural was hung with wheat paste, a non-toxic mixture of flour, water, and sugar mixed to make a biodegradable glue.

As a result of the pictures had been manufactured from paper, they started to climate nearly instantly. In response to Sharghi, this was by design. The carrying away was meant to signify the deterioration that the individuals within the pictures themselves undergo whereas being held overseas. 

“That mural is falling aside. It is deteriorating deliberately,” Sharghi mentioned. “We’ll go away it there to indicate the impact of time on the households and our family members who’re being left behind. Each single a kind of people must be fought for and introduced dwelling the identical means that Emad and the others had been introduced dwelling from Iran.”

Along with Emad Shargi, a number of different of the individuals represented in pictures are on the wall have already been launched, similar to Brittney Griner, the WNBA All-Star who had been detained in Russia. 

However there are others who’re nonetheless being held, together with Kai Li in China and Paul Whelan in Russia. 

Brennan and the 60 Minutes group introduced Shargi to the mural, the place he acquired to see his personal photograph for the primary time, earlier than time wore it away. 

“I am lucky to have the ability to stand right here in entrance of my very own image,” Shargi advised Brennan. “This form of wraps this complete factor for me. My five-and-a-half-year journey now involves a detailed. And that is the top of it.”

The video above was initially revealed on October 22, 2023 and was produced by Brit McCandless Farmer. It was edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.

Photographs courtesy of U.S. Military North and Getty Photos.

Brit McCandless Farmer

Brit McCandless Farmer is a digital producer for 60 Minutes, the place her work has been acknowledged by the Webby, Gracie, and Telly Awards. Beforehand, Brit labored on the CBS Weekend Night Information, CBS This Morning, CNN, and ABC Information.

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