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Witness Statement: Mitra Lager

Escape From Iran

 

69. Eventually the guards gave me my furlough. It was about early 1986. This time, I knew I could not afford inaction. We went to Tehran. Originally we wanted to get a visa and fly out of the country but we realized that obtaining a visa would take longer than a month. After some debating, we decided that our only option was to use our passports and travel through Turkey. We had obtained our passports in Shiraz some years before and had not yet used them. In those days, the system wasn’t computerized like it is now. There was no way, for example, for authorities in Shiraz to contact my hometown to determine whether or not I was on a no travel list. We used our passports to board a plane for Istanbul.

70. When the authorities in my town understood that we had escaped, they went to all of the homes of suspects and ex-convicts in Jahrom and rounded up their collective passports. I guess they hadn’t thought of the possibility that people could escape through Turkey with just their passports and no visas. We were very lucky to be the first family to have tried it.

Life in Turkey

 

71. On several occasions in Turkey, the MEK approached me and asked me to go with them to Iraq to work on bringing down the Iranian regime. I flat out refused. Since they had picked arms, I refused to get involved with them anymore. Despite my misgivings with the regime, I had lost all interest in political activity; I only wanted to have my life and raise my son. By that point, however, I didn’t even believe in religion anymore. The praying and fasting were not meaningful for me anymore. So I couldn’t go back and work for them because I didn’t believe in it anymore.

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Tagged as:

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