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Witness Statement: Shahrara

Shahrara was convicted for her political activities in 1983 when she was sixteen years old. She was not released from imprisonment after completing her sentence in the early spring of 1988 because she refused to repent. In this witness statement, Shahrara describes her experiences in prison, and the massacre of political prisoners during the summer and fall of 1988.

 

Full Name: Shahrara (Pseudonym)

Date of Birth:

Place of Birth

Occupation

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff

Witnesses

 

This statement was prepared pursuant to an in-person interview with Ms. Shahrara. The statement consists of 38 paragraphs and 9 pages. The interview was conducted in Europe on May 23, 2009. The statement was approved by Ms. Shahrara on December 14, 2009.

 

Witness Statement

I. Arrest

 

1. My name is Shahrara. I had not yet reached my sixteenth birthday when I was arrested in the spring of 1983. I had an appointment in Laleh Park when two Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) vehicles surrounded the area and arrested me. The individuals who arrested me wore IRGC’s military uniforms. They put on a blindfold and took me to Komiteh-yeh Moshtarak1 (or Committee). The Committee was used as a detention facility both during the Shah’s time and after the Revolution. When we were on our way to the Committee, they told me that they only wished to ask me a few questions. Actually, I was interrogated for more than eight hours and then I was transferred to Evin..

2. At the time, the Islamic Government was beginning to target their political opponents and it was not unusual to get arrested. During those years I was a leftist and was close to the Fedaian-e Khalq Organization. I read their literature, accepted their platform as that of a legitimate revolutionary movement, and participated in their activities.

3. In the beginning, my interrogators did not really know who I was. They continued to ask questions, but I was able to withhold the address and location of my home for a good twenty-four hours. After midnight they took me along and surrounded my home. They blindfolded me and we entered my home via the neighbors’ home with weapons drawn. They turned everything upside down. They tore through my pillows and blankets in search of evidence. They destroyed everything they laid their hands on. After a while, they discovered an internal party document. This document allowed them to officially arrest and detain me for “security” reasons.

4. After they discovered the Fedaian party pamphlet at my house, they were convinced that I was a member of the Minority faction, I was not admitting it. A little while later, I was positively identified by a prisoner that had decided to cooperate with the regime. This man had chosen to become a tavvab2 while in prison. I had my blindfold on and never saw his face, but he identified me and alleged that I was responsible for selling and distributing party literature.

5. A month after my arrest, I was transferred to Ahvaz in Southern Iran for further interrogation. I was originally from southern Iran, but at the time of my arrest I was living in Tehran. They kept interrogating and mistreating me down there for close to a month. The cells were very small and dingy, and the hallways in which the cells were located resembled coffins. The cells and hallways were completely dark—prisoners could not tell whether it was night or day. The prison did not have any sort of accommodations. It was a horrible place. After about a month, they returned me to Evin.

1 Komiteh-yeh Moshtarak, or “Committee,” refers to an infamous detention facility used by the Shah’s security and intelligence forces to detain, interrogate and torture political prisoners. After the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic renamed it the “Towhid detention facility,” but continued to use the facility as a place to detain and interrogate many of its political opponents.

2 A tavvab is anyone who has engaged in the act of tawbih, or penitence. It usually refers to “reformed” political prisoners who agreed to cooperate with the regime while serving out their prison sentences.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, 1988 Prison Massacre, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Free Speech, Child Rights