Home | English | Publications | Witness Testimony | Witness Statement: Mitra Lager

Witness Statement: Mitra Lager

9. Upon entering the facility, the seven of us were stuffed into a small, dark cell. The cell had a simple layout; it was composed of a common room. We had to call them to come and open the door to go the bathroom. Conditions were very bad in our new facility and guards did little to help us. During our time there, we found ourselves constantly hungry, thirsty and restless due to lack of food, water and exercise. Furthermore, visibility within the cell was extremely limited, especially on nights when the electricity went out.

10. We were actively discouraged from lobbying for better conditions. On one occasion, we complained a bit too much about the condition of the facility and a number of armed guards rushed into our cell and beat us. In response to their violence, I came forward and asked the men, “Why are you beating us?” The guards, sensing I held a leadership role within the group removed me from the cell and transferred me to solitary confinement. On my way to solitary, the guards tried to intimidate me by telling me that people who go to solitary never come out again.

11. I was held in solitary confinement for two weeks; I was the only woman in the solitary ward during that time period. I was not interrogated during these two weeks.

12. After my stint in solitary, they took me to the women’s ward which held about 200 women. Most of the women in this ward were members of the MEK who had been arrested in the June 20 demonstration and also there were some leftist women and a few ordinary prisoners who had been arrested due to prostitution.

13. Initially, in the ward we were given visitation privileges twice per week. Since my family didn’t live in Shiraz, it was very difficult for them to come with that level of frequency. After a while, the prison changed its policy and visitors were only allowed to come once per week. The prison also shortened the average time and frequency of our outdoor time. When we complained about the changes in policy, we were attacked and beaten by guards. During this time, I still was not interrogated.

14. After 2 months of detention, I was summoned to a room within the prison facility. Actually my name was paged by speaker that I should leave the room. Nobody informed me that it is my interrogation or my trial! I arrived at a dilapidated room and was ordered to take off my shoes before entering. Inside the room, three or four people including some clergy were sitting on the ground on a rug. I was wearing Hejab2 but of course my eyes were not blindfolded and I was able to see everything. After I removed my shoes, they directed me to sit down.

15. The clergymen asked questions about my womanhood. I was 17 years old. For example, they asked me why I had not yet found a husband. When I told them that I had not yet found an appropriate suitor, they laughed at me and asked me that why I didn’t marry one of the MEK members? I was quiet! They laughed at me and said none of them is a real man! Not only was this line of questioning irrelevant to my charges, it was clearly designed to insult and embarrass me! Sadly, such questions remain typical for women detained in Iranian prisons.

2 “Hejab” is the traditional covering for the hair and neck that is worn by Muslim women.

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 »
  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

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