A Tortoise File


The prison that Iran built for itself

First published
Monday 5 October 2020

Last updated
Tuesday 17 November 2020

Why this story?

The vast complex of cellblocks in the capital Tehran is proxy for the modern state: powerful and paranoid, factional and unpredictable, calculating and transactional, brutal and unaccountable.

Throughout the week we’ll be publishing our audio investigation, the searing testimonies of former prisoners, illustrations depicting life inside its concrete walls, and an interactive map of the sprawling facility. In investigating the dark prison in the heart of Tehran, we set out to open a door to Iran itself. Basia Cummings, editor