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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

One of the interrogators fondled her breasts and they threatened to rape her. At some point during the interrogation, they struck her on the back of the head and she lost consciousness. The interrogators forced her to swallow mysterious pills which she suspects were sedatives. She was made to swallow the pills two or three times-each time she passed out. When she woke up, she was sore all over and had blood trickling from between her legs. She still does not know whether she was raped.249

The interrogators also called Ahmadi Kaliji's father and had him listen to the sounds of them torturing her. The shock of hearing his daughter in pain was so extreme that her father suffered a heart attack. He had to undergo surgery and is still recuperating." 250

When Parisa Kakaee was summoned to the Tracking Office (Daftar-i Paygiri) in Tehran in November 2009, she was questioned about her activities with CHRR and the women's movement. At Evin prison, her interrogator, Alavi, made crude sexual remarks. He threatened to attack her loved ones-including her family. He told her that she had been under surveillance for years." 251

In daily sessions, interrogators attempted to force Kakaee to confess to being a member of the MEK. She was shocked to discover that they were accusing her of membership in the MEK as such charges warrant the death penalty in Iran. Kakaee had no ties to the MEK personally or through any familial associations of which she was aware.252 She knew the allegations were part of a deliberate campaign to discredit CHRR and its human rights work. The interrogators pressured her and other CHRR members to do television interviews and make false admissions. She steadfastly refused to do so. Kakaee recalls one particularly colorful exchange between an interrogator and herself:

Once when we got into another disagreement, he said: "Okay, fine, go back to your cell, and I won't come to get you until your hair is the color of your teeth. No one will want to represent you. You are a munafiq and a muharib, and we will hang you and kill you."253

Her interrogators also alleged that the One Million Signatures Campaign was founded by members of the MEK. In addition to Kakaee, they claimed that Parvin Ardalan (one of the women expressly named in the post election indictment) was an MEK member. Kakaee was also asked about Ahmadi Khorasani, another founder of the Campaign.254

When Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh arrived at Evin prison in late December 2009, she was immediately separated from Shiva Nazar Ahari (who was arrested along with her) and interrogated for about seven hours. During her interrogation, Abbasgholizadeh admitted she was part of the women's movement. Her case file listing the detailed notes of her prior interrogations with the women's interrogation team was not there, and it was clear her interrogators did not know much about her women's rights activist past.

[249] Id.
[250] Id.
[251] IHRDC Interview with Parisa Kakaee (April 14, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).
[252] Family members of MEK members, even though not associated with the MEK, have been arrested in Iran simply for their familial association. See Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Deadly Fatwa: Iran's 1988 Prison Massacre, available at http://iranhrdc.org/httpdocs/English/reports.htm.
[253] IHRDC Interview with Parisa Kakaee (April 14, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).
[254] Id.

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Tagged as:

Sexual Violence, Gender Rights, Death Penalty, Political Killings, Executions, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Travel Restrictions, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Protests, Free Association, Child Rights, Political Freedom, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination