Naeimeh Doostdar Sanaye studied Persian literature and has published a poetry collection, novels and two children’s books. In the late 90s she started working as a cultural journalist in Iran, but after a few years she increasingly focused on covering social issues, politics and women’s rights. As the Iranian government tightened it's grip on freedom of expression her articles and scripts were censured before being published and she risked reprimands.
In a recent interview with Sydsvenskan the 35 years old says that she was active in the protests following the 2009 presidential elections and when she in 2010 was offered a job abroad she decided to leave Iran. But after boarding the plane she was apprehended and forced back home, two weeks later she was sent to the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. She spent one month there in a tiny cell, never knowing what she was accused of.
After being released it took one year before she got her passport back. Still waiting for her case to be taken to court and fearing that she would be charged with espionage due to her attempt to leave Iran, a crime punishable by death, she fled the country with her husband and baby-daughter. They went to Dubai and then to Malaysia. But Malaysia has a return agreement with Iran, so they were not safe.
After eight months in Kuala Lumpur she was told that her application to ICORN had been accepted and that Malmö City of Refuge had invited her as their new guest writer. The three of them has now safely arrived in Malmö. Sanaye hopes to continue writing poetry, working as a journalist and telling her story.