Words of thanks from Hamid-Ghassemi Shall, marking a year since his safe return to Canada

It was a year ago that I returned to Canada after five and a half grueling years in an Iranian prison.  Believe you me, many a time I thought it might never happen.

Years and hours I was yearning for it.  With the shadow of execution over my head I felt I had been forgotten. I felt hopeless, I felt that I had reached the end of my life and had given up hope to see my family again.  Then one day, a kind person brought several photographs to me that completely changed my outlook.  They all featured my wife Antonella.  In one of them she was with Amnesty International wishing me Happy Birthday.  I didn’t recognize anyone except Antonella. A rush of emotion came across me —  people who didn’t know me were advocating for me.  It was then that I realized that I was not alone. I started feeling stronger and slowly I started to believe I should not give up and that instead I could fight back and make it out of that desperate place.

Your hard work paid off – you helped me win the battle. On September 23, 2013 I was released and finally reunited with my family in Canada on October 10, 2013.

Please accept my deepest thanks and those of my family in Iran and here in Canada.