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Witness Statement: Mitra Lager

29. The men led me out of the hospital at gunpoint and corralled me towards a car that was waiting for me in the parking lot. I was thrust into the back seat between two armed guards, and the driver pulled away. At a nearby location, my escorts ordered me to put my head down and look at the floor.

30. Upon arriving at our destination, I was blindfolded and taken to a dirty hallway with a number of other prisoners. The only thing I could see were the bandaged feet of other prisoners. The guards maintained a culture of fear. Prisoners had to sit completely motionless. I remember some of the inmates whispering that we were in Evin.

31. At Evin, the culture of fear extended beyond mere physical beatings. In many ways the sounds of torture remain more haunting than any of the beatings I received. Prison guards sat inmates outside of the various torture chambers and made them listen to strangers begging for mercy. I was subjected to this treatment on my first day in Evin. I heard children screaming throughout the day, crying for their parents and begging for water.

32. In the early evening, the guards collected some of the prisoners including me. They made us stand in a line and hold onto the chador of the woman in front of us while a guard led us to Ward 246, which was the female ward.

33. On the third day, I was called for interrogation. Interrogation at Evin was a very frightening experience. Before my interrogation, I was blindfolded and placed on the ground. Despite my blindfold, I could sense there were other people being tortured around me. I knew, for example, that there was a group of interrogators suffocating a young man directly behind me. He was so close to me that I could hear him struggling to breath and begging his captors to let him go. The man was so close to me that some of the interrogators kicks hit me.

34. Then I was forced to sit on a school chair in front of a wall. My interrogator was behind me. He told me to lift up my blindfold a little bit and write my specification. I did as he requested and wrote that I was not privy to the information that he was looking for. Upon reading my response, my interrogator became very angry with me..When I reiterated my innocence, he pushed my chair and threw me into the wall across the room. He told me that everyone who came through there said they were innocent. Some of the other men in the room laughed, “Now it starts,” one of them exclaimed, “after a couple of hours with her, she will tell us everything we want to know.”

35. I realized that my interrogators didn’t know anything about me; they didn’t even know why I was in Evin to begin with. Despite their lack of knowledge about me or my case, my interrogators pushed me on the floor and whipped me. Then, they laid me over a bed on my stomach, tied my feet and started whipping my feet. He whipped me until he tired and didn’t have any other questions to ask me.

36. After a while, a female guard came and took me to the bathroom, and brought me back. I don’t know why they brought us to bathroom after torturing us. When she brought me back into the room, my interrogator told me that he was going to send me back to my hometown because he didn’t know what to do with me in Evin. Although I knew the political climate was extremely dangerous for me in my hometown, I also knew getting out of Evin was nearly impossible and that I should jump at the chance. Thus, despite the risk of torture and execution in Jahrom, I acted strategically to be sent there.

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Tagged as:

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