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Surviving Rape in Iran's Prisons

Witness Statement of Matin Yar

Name: Matin Yar (pseudonym)

Place of Birth: Esfahan, Iran

Date of Birth: 1987

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: April 17, 2010

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff


This statement was prepared pursuant to an interview with Matin Yar. The statement was approved by Matin on October 5, 2010.




My Early Life


1. My name is Matin Yar and I am twenty four years old. I was born in Esfahan, Iran in 1987 and was a university student there when I fled the country 17 months ago. I left the country because I was imprisoned, tortured and raped in prison, and because of fear of execution at the hands of the Islamic Republic. I faced these forms of persecution because government officials discovered that I am homosexual and under Iranian law, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death.

2. Sometime between the ages of nine and twelve, I realized that I had fundamentally different feelings towards my male friends than other boys my age. While other boys felt mere friendship, I felt a deeper attraction. At first, I believed I suffered from a disease of the mind and blamed myself for what I perceived to be immoral feelings; with time and maturation, I came to realize that nobody was to blame for my feelings because they were not fundamentally wrong. I accepted that I was homosexual and that there was nothing I could do but accept it.

3. Throughout my adult life, I was forced to keep my homosexuality a secret. I think my mother may have suspected there was something different about me but I never volunteered my secret to her or to the rest of my family. I kept my homosexuality to myself because I was afraid my family would disown me for feelings I could not control. Keeping such a secret from my family had an injurious impact on me both physically and psychologically; it was a very difficult time in my life.

My Arrest


4. In 2007, a group of four or five of my homosexual friends and I decided to go for a walk at a local garden in the province of Esfahan. While in a secluded garden, we acted recklessly by taking part in homosexual activities. People in an adjacent garden saw us engaged in the homosexual acts and attacked us. After a brief skirmish, our attackers reported the homosexual acts to the father of one of the boys in my group. The boy’s father subsequently filed a complaint against all of us with the local police.

5. The Esfahan police summoned me to their barracks about a week after the incident for questioning. The Esfahan police were notorious for their cruel and sadistic treatment of prisoners. Upon introducing myself at the station, I was detained and taken into a cell block administered by the detective branch for interrogation.

My First Stint in Detention


6. I was held in a detention facility in Esfahan province for two to three weeks during which time I was interrogated by local authorities. My interrogators wanted me to confess to “Lewat” (involvement in homosexual activity with men) and to being homosexual; they also wanted information about the locations where homosexuals in Esfahan congregate. Even though I made it clear that I was not privy to the information the authorities sought, I was tortured by my captors.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, Sexual Violence, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment