In August 2009, I was betrayed by both my husband and my country.
A few months earlier I had left Iran — for good, perhaps, though I did not know it then. The government had harassed me for years for my work as a lawyer and a human-rights activist, and the threats against me had increased in the run-up to the presidential election that June. I took a vacation and, along with my younger daughter, Nargess, went to visit my older daughter, Negar, in Atlanta.
I usually spoke to my husband, Javad, two or three times a week, on appointed days. He had a SIM card for my calls, bought under someone else’s name, to make it difficult for the authorities to trace.
One Monday, I wasn’t able to reach him during our usual time. I wasn’t unduly concerned. He often spent long weekends at our country house, where the reception was weak. But days passed, and there was no word from him. I finally called my sister in Tehran, Nooshin, and asked her to check on our apartment, but it was empty.