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Voices of Dissent: Prison Memoirs of Jila Baniyaghoob and Bahman Ahmadi Amouee

June 9, 2020 - 10:00am to 11:00am
Jila Baniyaghoob
Bahman Ahmadi Amouee
Event Sponsor: 
Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies
Jila Baniyaghoob and Bahman Ahmadi Amouee

ندای اعتراض: خاطرات زندان بهمن احمدی امویی و ژیلا بنی یعقوب

Two of Iran’s most prominent journalists, Jila Baniyaghoob and Bahman Ahmadi Amouee discuss their memoirs about the time they each spent in Iranian prisons, and their on-going work in the fields of women’s rights and Iran’s political economy. Abbas Milani, Director of the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford, will moderate the discussion. Jila and Bahman join us from their home in Iran, their conversation will be live-translated from Farsi to English, followed by a Q&A session.  

Jila Baniyaghoob is a freelance reporter, working in Iran. As a journalist, Baniyaghoob faces numerous ramifications for her reporting and has been arrested, beaten, and imprisoned on numerous occasions. She began to pursue journalism at the daily newspaper Hamshahri as a journalism student at the University of Allameh Tabatabayi. She has since worked for various newspapers and has been threatened or fired many times for her reporting on government and social oppression—particularly on how they affect women. While working for Sarmayeh newspaper, Baniyaghoob started a section on women's economy, which incorporated interviews with experts on the gender issues of economics. However, the section was canceled in 2008. From 2001-2002, Baniyaghoob travelled throughout the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria. She has written about the women and refugees she encountered, covering issues like social and legal discrimination. She is a founding member of the One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality, which seeks to alter the discriminatory laws against women in Iran. Baniyaghoob has also published a book, Journalists in Iran, which related the hardships experienced by Iranian journalists, particularly women. The book includes stories of some of her own experiences. Her book, The Women of Evin: Ward 209 is based on her firsthand observations of women prisoners during her own incarceration in Evin Prison in Tehran. It was translated into English and published by Xlibris in 2013 (available through Amazon). The Persian/Farsi version is published by Baran (available through 

Bahman Ahmadi Amouee is an Iranian journalist and active critic of the Iranian government’s economic policies. He was imprisoned in the aftermath of the highly contested 2009 presidential election in Iran for his works as a journalist. Being accused of political and ideological charges, he served five years and four months in prison. Amouee has worked for many of Iran’s major pro-reform newspapers and has continued criticizing the Islamic Republic’s approaches in different fields of politics and economy as well as its approach in treating political prisoners in Iran. He is the author of a few famous books in the field of economy in Iran. He was the winner of the Hellmann-Hammett award in 2011 and the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award for Freedom of Expression in 2015. His new book, translated to English, is titled Life in Prison and is published by Mazda Press this year (available through Amazon and Mazda Press). 

The introduction of the book, written by Abbas Milani, is available in English here and in Persian/Farsi (translated by Erfan Sabeti) here

 Ward 209       Life in Prison

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