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Witness Statement: Mitra Lager

22. Three days later, the police found my cousin’s body in one of the aqueducts outside the city. (This group was known as Aqueduct group because they left bodies of their victims in the aqueducts outside the city.) His body was brought home and laid in the bathtub to be cleaned. When they took a look at him, all signs pointed to torture. His body parts were separated from each other and there were cigarette burns all over. One of his eyeballs had been ripped from its socket and there were knife wounds littered across his back. It was terrifying to hear of the evidence of such inhumane treatment being found on the body of a loved one.

23. Upon my release from prison, I was horrified to learn that my name was on Aqueduct group’s hit list. Upon hearing this information, my family and I realized that I could not risk a return to my hometown of Jahrom.

24. My family helped some of the other relatives who had been threatened and I go into hiding in one of our relative’s house in Bandar Abbas in the south of Iran. I stayed in Bandar Abbas all summer, safe from the dangers awaiting me in Jahrom. At the end of the summer, my family contacted me to tell me that they had moved to Tehran. Tehran is a very large city where one can disappear quite easily, so I thought I could live there safely.

25. I couldn’t continue to go to school in Tehran because the Revolutionary Guard had all of our education records from our schools in Jahram. Each of the wanted people, who wished to continue their education, had to get their education records from the Revolutionary Guard but it was just a trap. So I got a job in a lab in Tehran. I lived with my family in Tehran for about a year.

26. Imam of Friday prayer in my town Jahrom, Hossein Ayatollahi, issued an order to the Hezbollah of Jahrom to come to the large cities across Iran in search of escapees from my small town. Upon finding these escapees, he ordered Hezbollah to bring them back or kill them. After our move to Tehran, my younger brother Behrooz who was two years younger than me (he was 14 or 15 years old) was arrested by such Hezbollah and brought before the Revolutionary Guard in Tehran. Without informing his family of his arrest, he was sent to Evin prison. For our part, we had no idea what happened to him; we didn’t even know whether he was alive.

Second Arrest

 

27. On June 27 or 28, 1982, five or six months after my brother’s arrest, I was working in a hospital lab, when two men appeared in the waiting room. One of them seemed to have a broken hand. They stared at me intensely every time I crossed his path. At the time, I didn’t know what they wanted with me and tried to ignore their behavior. Finally, one of the men confronted me and asked if I was Mitra. As soon as he said my name, I knew they had come to arrest me.

28. I told the man that I was Mitra and he informed me that he had orders to take me in. I told him that I couldn’t go with him at that moment because I had to contact my father to let him know where I was going. The man retorted that I could not contact anyone and that I was obligated to go with him. Frantic, I told the man that I need to get my purse that I had to bring with me. By this point, other members of the hospital staff realized what was going on and came to my defense. As I approached the closet to pick up my purse, the men pulled out guns and aimed them at me. I think they were afraid that I had hidden something in the closet to injure them with.

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Tagged as:

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