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Witness Statement: Mitra Lager

64. On several occasions throughout my interrogation sessions, my interrogators suggested that they would not hesitate to torture me in order to get the information they desired. They told me that if I didn’t speak freely, they would make me speak. When they finally took me to the torture chamber, they removed my blindfold and put a bag over their own faces so I could see the instruments they would be using.

65. After all of my years in prison, I was well versed in torture tactics and the best ways to escape them. I knew that guards were more likely to show mercy towards pregnant women than non-pregnant women. I also knew that if they whipped me, they wouldn’t let me out of prison until my bruises healed as they didn’t want any of the signs of torture escaping the prison facility. Since I wanted to get out of prison as soon as possible, I knew that I could not afford to be whipped or beaten in any way.

66. Before the guards strapped me down to the bed to whip me, I forced myself to cry. I told the guards that I was pregnant and that the past few days in prison had put a great deal of stress on my body and that I felt very sick from the experience. I told them that I thought my unborn child was at risk and begged them for a short break from interrogations in order to see a doctor.

67. The guards believed me. They gave me a week-long furlough to see a doctor, provided my husband sign a piece of paper promising to bring me back to prison. I spent my week at home contemplating what to do about my predicament. I thought we needed to escape the country, but my husband did not feel comfortable with the plan. By the end of the week we had not taken any significant steps towards escaping the country and I was forced to go back to prison with the plan of obtaining another furlough from the guards.

68. I was able to secure one more break. Yet again, my husband and I took no significant steps towards escaping the country during my second break and I was forced to go back to prison. By the third time, the guards did not want to give me another break. My husband was forced to tell my captors that my child needed to have a special operation in Tehran and that I had to go to Tehran with him. This time the guards made it very difficult for us. They made me sign a piece of paper saying that if I didn’t come back, they would be within their rights to seek me out and kill me. They made my husband sign a piece of paper that said they could take him in my place if I didn’t come back. He also had to submit a land document as a pledge.

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Tagged as:

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