A Spanish woman who had been imprisoned in Iran for more than four months on espionage charges has returned home. In an interview with the media, she recalled the moments spent in detention. “You keep hoping you’ll be released because you haven’t done anything wrong.” The problem is that days go by and they don’t let you out. So you force yourself to think you’re going to get out,” she said. She also told about the circumstances of her detention and about meeting her relatives again. “We ate my mother’s Spanish omelette, went for a walk on the beach,” she recalled.
Ana Baneira, 25, has been in an Iranian prison since mid-October 2022 on espionage charges. She was released on February 26 this year and returned home. On Thursday, the Spaniard told the media that she had not known the allegations against her for many days.
She talked about the uncertainty that accompanied her. “You’re afraid you’ll be accused of spying, which eventually happened,” she said. “You’re still hoping you’ll be released because you haven’t done anything wrong.” The problem is that days go by and they don’t let you out. So you force yourself to think you’re going to get out,” she continued.
She indicated that it was also difficult for her to communicate with other prisoners who did not speak English.
Baneira also recalled the moment of detention. As she said, it was the day after visiting the office to apply for a visa extension, which would allow her to stay in the country longer.
She reported that she was going to the ruins of the ancient city of Persepolis with her Iranian friend at the time. – We were filling up at a gas station and suddenly the police entered the car. They arrested me, put me in another car, and from there we drove directly to the interrogation room. They questioned me for a few hours and then said it wasn’t enough that I had to continue the next day. So I had to go to prison. And that’s when it all started,” she said.
“The first day we ate mom’s omelette, went for a walk on the beach, drank tea”
The woman said she was “glad to be back” in her home in the northwest village of A Coruna Spain. She added that meeting her family after that time was full of emotions.
– The first day we ate my mum’s Spanish omelette, it was delicious, and then we went for a walk on the beach, drank tea, coffee, it was a very peaceful day – she admitted.
She also expressed gratitude for Madrid’s efforts to secure her freedom.
She arrived in Iran shortly before the protests
Baneira works for an NGO dealing with human rights. However, she argued that she was not an activist and denied participating in anti-government protests in Iran. She arrived in Iran – as she reported – on September 6 as a tourist after a tour of Georgia and Armenia.
In the middle of the same month, a large wave of protests broke out after the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the moral police because of “inappropriate headgear”. After the arrest, the woman fell into a coma under unclear circumstances and died in the hospital. Officially, the cause of death was sudden heart failure, but witnesses reported seeing officers striking Amini in the head, among other things.
The Spaniard is still in prison
Another Spanish national, 41-year-old Santiago Sanchez, has also been charged with espionage by Iranian authorities and has been in custody since October. He made a 6,800 kilometer walk from Madrid to Qatarto take part in the football world cup organized there at the end of 2022.
Reuters, citing a source, said Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares called his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Thursday and demanded Sanchez’s release.
Main photo source: Reuters