Siamak Namazi is an Iranian-American businessman who has been detained in Evin Prison in Iran since October 13, 2015.
He was arrested while on a business trip to Iran in 2015 and was convicted on charges of cooperating with a hostile government, meaning the United States.
Namazi’s father, Baquer Namazi, was also detained in Iran shortly after the U.S. swap during an attempt to visit his detained son.
Both Siamak and Baquer Namazi were subsequently left behind in two more prisoner exchanges that were carried out by the Trump administration.
Namazi has been on a hunger strike to mark the seventh anniversary of being left behind in a deal that freed other Americans.
He is pushing Iran and the U.S. to make a deal to free him.
Namazi’s lawyer, Jared Genser, describes him as “desperate, despondent, heartbroken and also angry” all at the same time.
Namazi’s family is a part of the Bring Our Families Home campaign which advocates to bring home wrongful detainees and hostages.
Thank you Joe Biden and congrats to the 5 Americans freed from prison in Iran. Yes we had to unfreeze $6 Billion of Iran's own money. Yes it was worth it.
He was in prison for 8 years after being convicted of espionage after a trial that only lasted a few hours.… pic.twitter.com/Fvd2aCuEGg
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) September 18, 2023
Why was Siamak Namazi arrested?
Namazi was arrested in October 2015 during a business trip to Iran and was convicted of cooperating with a hostile government.
He was charged with having “relations with a hostile state,” referring to the US, where Namazi is a dual Iranian-US national.
Namazi was left out of a prisoner swap that took place when the Iran nuclear deal went into effect in 2016, and he was also excluded from subsequent deals.
Namazi has been imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, where he has endured prolonged solitary confinement, denial of access to medical care, and physical and psychological torture.
As mentioned above, he embarked on a hunger strike to mark the seventh anniversary of being left behind in a deal that freed other Americans.
As of September 2023, Namazi was moved from Evin Prison to house arrest as part of a pending U.S.-Iran deal for the release of him and four other Americans held.
Siamak Ramazi release
Namazi was held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, which is known for its long record of human rights abuses and is seen as an emblem of authoritarian rule in Iran.
Namazi’s father, Baquer, was also imprisoned in Iran, but he was allowed to leave the country on medical grounds after the government lifted his years-long travel ban.
On September 18, 2023, Iran moved some American prisoners to house arrest as a step in a swap for their release, which included Namazi.
The swap also gave Iran access to oil money and the release of Iranians in the US.
Namazi had spent nearly eight years in Tehran’s Evin prison.
The Americans were reported to include Namazi, Emad Sharghi, a businessman, and Morad Tahbaz, a 66-year-old environmentalist.
The release of Namazi and other American prisoners was a result of diplomatic efforts between the US and Iran.
Namazi had appealed to US President Joe Biden to ramp up efforts to secure his releasez
His case had been a top priority for multiple US administrations, including those of President Obama, President Trump and President Biden.
Namazi’s release was a significant development in US-Iran relations and a relief for his family and supporters who had been advocating for his release for years.
Siamak Namazi, who was just freed after being wrongfully detained by Iran since 2015, spoke to CNN's @amanpour this past March from inside Evin Prison.
It’s the only interview he ever gave from jail, an act that he described as “a desperate measure.”pic.twitter.com/N0tXX4Zb9Y
— Lauren Cone (@LConeCNN) September 18, 2023