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Witness Statement: Mitra Lager

Mitra Lager, a former supporter of the Mojahdedin-e Khalq (MEK), describes her arrests and torture in the early and mid-1980s and recalls how the Hezbollahe created an atmosphere of fear in Jahrom through kidnapping and brutally killing the regime’s critics.

 

Name: Mitra Lager

Place of Birth: Jahrom, Farse, Iran

Occupation: Writer

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: June 13, 2009

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff

 

This statement was prepared pursuant to a live interview with Mitra Lager. The statement consists of 71 paragraphs and 12 pages. The interview was conducted on June 13, 2009. The statement was approved by Mitra Lager on September 12, 2010.

 

Witness Statement

 

1. My name is Mitra Lager. I was a supporter of the Mujahidin-e Khalq (MEK)1 from 1978 to 1981. I left Iran in 1987. One year later, with the help of the UN office in Ankara, Turkey, I immigrated to Sweden as a refugee.

My First Arrest

 

2. My first arrest occurred in my home city of Jahrom, during the demonstrations of the June 20, 1981. The demonstrations on that day were organized by the MEK an organization I subscribed to and actively supported at the time.

3. On June 20, the MEK charged me with organizing a small demonstration on a side street in Jahrom. Sometime after the start of my demonstration, a group of plainclothes Hezbollahis attacked us with knives. The group turned towards me and chased me through the streets of Jahrom.

4. I ran away from my pursuers, looking for a way to escape their wrath. I thought I had found a sanctuary when I reached an open home and attempted to seek refuge in it. To my chagrin, I discovered the occupants of the home were themselves members of Hezbollah; when they discovered I was a member of the MEK, they promptly assisted in my arrest.

5. One of my attackers was a man named Haji Bashi. At the time, Haji Bashi was famous in Jahrom for being the leader of a ruthless Hezbollahi group that was responsible for a number of brutal murders. I could tell some of the men in Haji Bashi’s entourage wanted to kill me. Thankfully, some of the more merciful Hezbollahis begged their counterparts to put away their knives and leave me be.

6. Ultimately, I was beaten by my captors and thrown into a taxi with an armed escort. The taxi took me to the central basement of the Revolutionary Guards in Jahrom. I was taken directly into an interrogation room. My interrogator was a young Guard in a military uniform who displayed an abrasive attitude towards me from the very beginning of my interrogation. It was clear from his demeanor that they planned to do more than just interrogate me. He asked sexual questions instead of political questions. For example he said “you are not political activist, you follow the sexual needs!”

7. The stress of the interrogation combined with my youthful exuberance for the cause made me extremely volatile. In a moment of rage, I attacked my interrogator and slapped his face. My interrogation ended immediately and I was thrown into a room. In the room, I saw seven of my friends who all were young females and had been arrested on the same day. One of them had been severely beaten and her entire face was bruised and swollen.

8. The next day, I was put in a car along with six other female prisoners and transported to Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz because our city (Jahrom) didn’t have any prison especially for the females. Adel Abad Prison refused to accept us because they were already beyond maximum capacity. In the June 20 demonstration, most of members of the MEK were arrested. We were transferred then to the Third Army Prison of Shiraz which also was known as Setad Square.

1Mojahedin-e Khargh Organization

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, 1988 Prison Massacre, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Free Speech, Free Association