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Witness Statement: Shahrara

VII. Summon before the Death Commission


27. After a while, they returned me to my room again. Then all of a sudden, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, Moghtadai, Mojtaba Halvai, and Lajevardi entered our room. This was truly unusual. These were some of the most prominent prison authorities—what were they doing here? They asked each of us to identify ourselves. They also asked us which party we belonged to. Anyone they did not like (or whom the prisoners identified as troublemakers) was summoned and ordered to stand in the hallway. They ordered me to leave the room and go stand in the hallway.

28. They took us to solitary confinement that very same day. The next day we went in front of the Death Commission. I believe we were the first group of women prisoners to go before the Death Commission. Whether it was still July or not, I cannot remember very well. Nayyeri and Moghtadai were present during my retrial. I do not remember the total number of people present in the room, but I think there were at least five individuals there (including Mojtaba Halvai, Lajevardi, Nayyeri and Moghtadai). One of the first questions they asked me was whether or not I was a Muslim. I answered that I was born a Muslim, but that I did not consider myself one. They asked my views regarding the Islamic Republic and I answered that I did not accept the regime as legitimate. They asked if I prayed and I said no. After these questions, they issued my judgment: I was to receive five lashes for every prayer session until I agreed to pray. My retrial did not take more than two or three minutes.

29. After my retrial, I was contacted by one of the Mojahedin prisoners via Morse. She had information regarding the executions and named several Mojahed Azadi-ha whom she claimed had already been killed. She also said that several Leftist male prisoners had also been executed. Apparently, the Islamic Republic had decided to whip the female Leftists until they accepted Islam and decided to pray instead of executing them.

30. Whipping began right after my retrial. Many of the prisoners, including me, could not resist the whippings and accepted to pray after only a few days. The groups of prisoners who followed us, however, put up more resistance because they knew what to expect. I think the second and third group of prisoners each lasted for about twenty to twenty-two days. I heard that one of the prisoners in the third group endured 550 lashes and still refused to surrender. Apparently, Nayyeri personally assumed the responsibility of whipping her in the last round. He told her that all she needed to do was to nod her head and agree to accept Islam—there was no need to submit to prayer. But the prisoner did not accept Nayyeri’s condition and continued her resistance.

31. Meanwhile, executions of prisoners were going on. I remember one day when I was in my solitary cell, I tried to sneak a peek outside and see what was going on. Inside my cell there was a heater and it was possible to take a peek outside if I managed to climb on top of it. So I did, and I saw a group of men who were lined up, blindfolded, and marching toward the prison’s sanitarium. The prisoners were singing a popular revolutionary anthem as they were marching. It was a strange scene—it was an amazing scene – both inspiring and tragic. I felt that they were living their lasts few moments on earth as they were marching towards the gallows because of their beliefs. I could also hear the stamping of the guards, who attempted to counter the prisoners’ anthem by shouting “Allah-u Akhbar!”

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Tagged as:

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