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Witness Statement: Tania Ahmadi Kaliji

Arrests Prior to the June 2009 Election

 

9. I was first arrested in April or May 2007. At that time, I was working at the Emdadi Hospital [Relief Hospital] of the city of Abhar in the province of Zanjan, Iran. I was arrested in my home for blogging. I was taken to the Zanjan Public Information Office (Daftar-e Setad-e Khabari) for interrogation.2

10. I was arrested the second time in Tehran on December 4, 2007 for participating in the annual Student Day demonstrations. That year, the Student Day events took place on December 4 instead of the usual date of December 7.3 At the time, I was standing outside the gates of Tehran University passing out flyers for the group “Students for Freedom and Equality” (Daneshjouyan-e Azadi Khah va Barabari Talab). I was also taking photographs and video at the event so the authorities arrested me.

11. My third arrest took place in May or June 2008 in Abhar, Iran. According to the arresting officers, I was brought in because of my alleged cooperation with opposition groups outside the country and my role in dispatching news to foreign television networks.

12. Around the time of my third arrest, I gave financial help to a couple of my friends who had fled to Turkey. The authorities alleged that my financial contributions were donations to foreign political organizations planning to overthrow the Islamic Republic, and thus I had acted against national security.

13. With respect to the allegations that I funneled news to foreign media outlets, I suspect that this was a reference to my interviews with Radio Farda and Radio Zamaneh, as well as a series of articles I wrote for the Stop Stoning Forever campaign.

14. I was held for three days and interrogated for 14-15 hours each day. My interrogators wanted me to write down information about people I knew and any internal links between people inside Iran and people outside whom they alleged were conspiring to topple the government.

15. After I was released, I was fired from my job in Abhar. I went to Tehran to look for work. I found a job at a hospital in Tehran but was fired from that job after my employer found out about my arrests. Apparently no one wanted to hire me because of my prior activities. I decided to maintain a low profile. Eventually, after five months, I was offered a job at Milad Hospital.

The 2009 Election

 

16. During the lead up to the recent elections, I was in Tehran. When the candidates were announced, voters fell into two camps. One camp wanted to boycott the elections altogether and the other camp wanted to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election race and vote. After some wavering, I decided that I would cast a vote for Mir-Hossein Mousavi because he represented the best chance for securing at least some reforms in society, including increased rights for women.

17. After making my decision, I became active in the Green Movement in support of Mousavi by collecting signatures and disseminating information about his candidacy through the Internet.

2The Public Information Office (Daftar-e Setad-e Khabari) is a government office where people are taken for interrogation.

3Student Day in Iran marks the anniversary of the murder of three students of the University of Tehran on December 7, 1953 by Iranian police in the Pahlavi era. Every year, to mark this event, university students organize demonstrations at their institutions.

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Cyber Journalism, Imprisonment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination, Witness Statements, Witness Statements, Statement