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Witness Statement: Mahdis

Transfer to Evin


11. In the bus, the guards made us lower our heads so we wouldn’t be able to see. They told us that they were taking us to the Revolutionary Court, where we would give our written promises. Once I raised my head. I saw Evin’s sign and noticed that we were entering Evin prison. The guards in Evin swore at us and treated us very badly. We had to wait a few minutes so the Evin prison officials could count us. Then, they put us on a prison minibus. The minibus went uphill for ten minutes, after which we reached the women’s ward. All the cells in this ward were solitary cells. There was a corridor with sixty cells. There were fifty of us, all arrested during the Student Day demonstration.

12. A prison official came into the ward. He had a repulsive appearance. He said, “Make no mistake; this is not Vozara where you could kick the doors. If you raise your voices here, we will kill you.” I’ll never forget a seventeen year old girl who threw herself at his feet. She licked his shoe and said, “Please don’t throw me in a solitary cell! I’m scared of being alone!” She begged until they placed her and a sixty-three year old woman in the same cell. They put the rest of us in solitary cells. We were hungry, stressed and sleep-deprived..

13. I was taken to a solitary cell that had a small window in the door. The window’s handle was on the other side of the door. The guards opened the window for only half an hour each day so that we could have a change of air. There was also a small window at the bottom of the door through which they gave us food. There was a small carpet and a blanket on the floor. It was December and the weather was cold and I developed strep throat. My tonsils were swollen and I could not breathe. There was also a toilet in the solitary cell, which resembled a metal bucket with a hole at the bottom. That’s what we had to use for all of our needs.

14. At three in the morning that first night, I heard two or three men scream. I wondered what was being done to them that they were screaming like that. I shivered at the sound of those screams. The noise died down around 4:00 in the morning. There were ten to twenty minutes of absolute silence. Then, I heard the sound of boots passing by my cell. I wondered who was next and when my turn would come. I had heard about rape in prisons and was very scared.

15. The next day, they made us wear chadors and took us in groups of five to be issued prison IDs. They photographed and fingerprinted us. On the third day at Evin, we were finally given food. The food was awful, but I was so hungry that I ate it all. We were given three meals a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast was given at six in the morning. It consisted of a piece of bread and some cheese. But I was so tired and sleep-deprived that I preferred to sleep.

16. I remember that one day, on the fourth or fifth day after my arrest, they opened the doors of a number of cells, including mine at Evin. This was before the interrogations and tortures began. I saw three or four men standing outside my cell. They told me to get out of the cell. When I went out, they said, “Walk…sit…stand up…walk again!” They wanted to see whether we were healthy and able to walk or not. Back in Vozara, one of the detained women who was a lawyer had told us that U.N. officials were scheduled to investigate prison conditions.

17. One day they released some kind of gas into the ward – I think it was paint thinner gas. We all got sick. Everyone banged on the doors with their hands and feet, asking prison guards to open the windows. I opened the window used for giving food and breathed through its opening. After an hour, they opened the cell windows.

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Sexual Violence, Imprisonment, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Witness Statements, Witness Statements, Statement