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As more and more time passed, Sarah says she had to come to terms with her reality: living in solitary confinement in a room that was only eight by five steps big. After two months of investigation, Sarah's Iranian investigator came to her with some startling news.

"He said, 'You know, I could continue asking you questions, but we've been told that the investigation is finished, and at this point, it's become political,'" Sarah says. "I said, 'What does that mean it's become political?' He just said: 'Well, I just mean it's become political and it really doesn't matter if you're innocent or not. This is bigger than you.' And it just hit me that I was part of something much bigger than myself—something that I didn't deserve to be a part of, but I was a part of it."

Even though solitary confinement was unbearable at times, Sarah says it was even more difficult to think of her mother back home. After seven months of begging the guards to let her call home, Sarah was finally allowed to phone her mother.

"It was incredible just to know she could have that relief," Sarah says. "It was also really difficult because I felt I didn't have a lot of hope at that time, and I heard her—that hope in her voice—and I was happy she had hope. But I didn't have hope."

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