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Witness Statement: Shahrara

II. Mistreatment

 

6. In Evin, they placed me alongside sixteen tavvab prisoners who were among the most prominent members of their parties, but had broken while in prison. They treated me terribly, had an eye on me all the time, and reported about me to the prison authorities.

7. I was often forced to sit in the hallways for hours before I was called in for questioning. While waiting, I was subjected to the groans and whimpers of those being tortured. They kept me in the hallway several times from morning until the evening without ever calling me in for questioning. This anticipation, agitation, and constant state of fear really haunted me. In other occasions, they would wake me up in the middle of the night. I thought I was on my way to being executed. A few times they set up fake execution scenes and took me to the gallows. I remember one evening, one of the guards came into our room and ordered me to put on my chadors3 and blindfold. He summoned me out and took me to another area of the prison. When I got there, I heard the sound of gunfire. Then a few of the guards stamped their feet and shouted “Allah-u Akbar!” These instances created an indescribable feeling of fear inside of me. I felt that I was about to be executed by firing squad.

8. For example, after I was transferred to Evin, I was kept in the hallways of Section 209 for close to three weeks. While I was there, I witnessed many prisoners with their hands shackled to the hallway railing. Another group of prisoners slept in the hallways. (After three weeks) they summoned me in for interrogation. I refused to answer several of their questions, so they blindfolded me and sent me to the basement. I could sneak a peek or two from underneath my blindfold. We reached a room. They spread me on the table and tied my hands and feet to the edges of the table. There were several of them and I felt as if they had surrounded me. They began beating the soles of my feet with a cable.

9. It felt as if they were using different types of cables to strike my feet—every strike felt different from the one before it. The pain was unbearable. The pain shot right up to my head. It felt as if they were dragging a dagger across the soles of my feet. I am not sure, but I think after the first series of lashings I lost consciousness. Usually, they would continue striking the prisoner’s feet as long as she reacted with pain. If not, they would stop the torture, leave the room, and return after about fifteen minutes. The questioning would continue at that point. They pressured me into revealing my appointments and the names of the party members I was in touch with. I continued to insist that they had made a mistake and that I should not have been arrested and interrogated.

10. After they beat the soles of my feet with cables, they were forced to take me to the infirmary because my feet were in terrible shape. After the infirmary, however, they continued on with their beatings. I lost consciousness several times during these beatings.

11. Almost a year passed. I had three visits with my family. During these visits, we spoke of ordinary matters. At no point did we even entertain the notion of hiring an attorney, because it simply did not matter. Lajevardi, one of the high-ranking prison authorities, used to say that any lawyer who defended kafers4 and monafeq5 was no different than someone who takes up arms. Lajevardi believed that any such individual was acting against the Islamic Republic and that the regime should not allow someone who is working against the regime to defend another who is in the same position.

3 The chador is a veil that covers the whole body.

4 Kafer means “unbeliever”; someone who is not Muslim.

5Monafeqin was the derogatory name used by the regime against Mojahedin members. Monafeq means ‘hypocrite’ in Persian.

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Tagged as:

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