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UK: new 'Surviving Evin' exhibition will show Anoosheh Ashoori's Iran prison experience

A powerful new pop-up exhibition will showcase the experience of UK national Anoosheh Ashoori who was arbitrarily jailed for four-and-a-half years in Iran until his release - alongside Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - in March 2022.

Entitled “Surviving Evin” and held at Hoxton Arches in east London, the exhibition - devised by Ashoori himself with the support of Amnesty International UK - will recreate the emotional and physical reality of his detention and will feature personal items Ashoori was able to smuggle out of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison after his release.

The highly experiential exhibition is designed to take visitors through the years Ashoori spent in detention, from his arrest by Iranian intelligence officers and his first interrogations, time spent in solitary confinement, daily life with other inmates, the impact of his family’s campaigning back home, and life after release.

Among other things, the exhibition features a reconstruction of one of the cells (Cell 52) in which Ashoori was interrogated for 116 days and made to sign a false confession, the crowded conditions in cockroach- and bedbug-infested communal cells, recordings of telephone calls to his wife Sherry in London, and how the inspiration of hoping to run the London marathon after his release helped Ashoori cope with his time in jail.

Anoosheh Ashoori said:

“This exhibition aims to provide a deep insight into the challenges and triumphs I encountered during the 1,677 days of captivity, as well as life after my release.

“I think the exhibition is a testament to the ability of the human spirit to endure, to find hope amid despair, to face adversity and to emerge stronger. I hope it reminds everyone who visits of the importance of empathy, understanding and solidarity in our shared humanity.”

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, said:

“Anoosheh’s response to his cruel captivity in Iran is an absolute inspiration but if the UK government had properly prioritised his case from the beginning Anoosheh’s ordeal could have been brought to an end far sooner.

“We need a new, much more engaged approach from the Government when UK nationals are arbitrarily detained overseas, and this exhibition is another way of highlighting the vital importance of this change to UK foreign policy.”

For more information on Amnesty UK’s Path To Freedom campaign, go here

Details of exhibition

WHO: Anoosheh Ashoori and family, Amnesty UK chief executive Sacha Deshmukh

WHAT: Surviving Evin prison experience pop-up exhibition

WHERE: Hoxton Arches, 402 Cremer Street, London E2 8HD

WHEN: Tuesday 28 May 2024, 17:30-18:30 (press viewing), followed by launch event (19:00-21:30); open to the public Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 May (booking necessary) 

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