Matthew Trevithick spent 41 days in an Iranian prison, for reasons that are still unclear. Although his captors swore he would never leave, Matthew was unexpectedly released on January 16 — along with five other American detainees. Now that he is safe at home in Boston, Massachusetts, the 30-year-old is ready to discuss his harrowing experience.
Business Insider reports Trevithick spent several months in Iran, as he was attending classes at a subsidiary of Tehren University. Although he planned to fly to Boston to visit family for the holidays, his life took and unexpected turn.
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During a recent interview with CNN, Matthew said he had just stepped outside his dorm building when he was approached by three people — who he did not recognize.
One of the people asked if his name was Matthew. When he confirmed that was indeed his name, he was forced into an unmarked Hyundai Sonata and transported to Tehran’s Evin Prison with no further explanation.
Less than one hour later, Trevithick was inside an interrogation room being questioned about his relationship to Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian.
Although Matthew Trevithick admittedly recognized Rezaian’s name, as the Iranian-American journalist’s 2014 arrest, and subsequent conviction, made international news — he explained that he did not know him personally.
Unfortunately, the interrogators were not convinced.
In addition to his alleged association with Rezaian, Matthew was accused of “having access to millions of dollars and knowledge of secret weapons caches” and planning to overthrow the Iranian government. He was therefore placed in solitary confinement, where he spent nearly one month isolated from the rest of the prison population.
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Trevithick said his cell, which was fewer than 50 square feet, was carpeted. However, it was devoid of a cot or any bedding.
After spending 29 days in isolation, Matthew was transferred into the prison’s general population. Although the conditions were somewhat improved, the writer was led to believe he would never be released.
Although the entire experience was frightening, Trevithick said “the final two hours before he was released” were terrifying.
On that final day, the 30-year-old man was “violently” removed from his cell and escorted to a “pitch black” basement room “with a single spotlight pointed at a chair with an ultra-high definition camera.”
Matthew Trevithick was once again interrogated by the Iranians about his alleged crimes. Although he was incredibly frightened, he managed to hold his ground. The writer refused to admit to crimes he did not commit.
Although the interrogators reportedly “threw him against the wall,” they eventually allowed Matthew to return to his cell. Later that same day, he was asked to pack his belongings and was escorted away from his cell.
At the time, Trevithick was still unsure what was happening. As his captors did not tell him he was being released, he naturally feared the worst.
Matthew was stunned when he was actually led outside of the prison — where two Swiss diplomats told him he was going home.
Prior to his most recent trip to Iran, Matthew Trevithick attended the American University of Afghanistan between 2010 and 2014. He also worked at the American University of Iraq. However, his incarceration changed his point of view.
As reported by Reuters, Matthew issued a grim warning to anyone planning a trip to Iran.
“I wouldn’t advise that they go, sadly… Unfortunately, I don’t think the time is ready for you to go… I would not encourage people to go to Iran.”
Upon returning to Boston from Iran, Matthew Trevithick said he and his mother went out for a hamburger. He also expressed interest in the new Star Wars movie.
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