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Witness Statement: Maryam Sabri

Maryam Sabri, a participant in demonstrations protesting the 2009 presidential election in Iran, describes her arrest, detention and repeated rape by interrogators in an unidentified detention center. She was released on condition that she become an informant, and fled Iran soon thereafter.


Name: Maryam Sabri

Place of Birth: Tehran, Iran

Date of Birth: 1988

Occupation: Business

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: December 3, 2009

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff


This statement was prepared pursuant to an interview with Maryam Sabri. It was approved by Maryam Sabri on November 9, 2010.


Witness Statement




1. My name is Maryam Sabri. I’m twenty one years old and worked for a boating company before leaving Iran.

2. I was admitted to Tehran’s Art University in 2006 and became a member of the political council of the University. I did not belong to any specific political party and did not have vast political activities at the University. I participated in nonpolitical programs and demonstrations on the campus. Nevertheless, the Protection Office of the University, an intelligence unit of the university, decided to expel me temporary from the university in 2007 and later stated in a letter that I did not have permission to attend my classes anymore. Thus, I was expelled permanently from the University a year after I was admitted.

3. I became politically active during the 2009 Presidential Election. After participating in the demonstration, I was arrested by plainclothes agents, transferred to an unknown detention center, where I was mistreated and repeatedly raped.



4. I was hesitant at the beginning to vote in the 2009 Presidential Election. I was even advocating for boycotting the election. I believed that voting would imply that we were happy with the system, but when Khatami came forward and introduced Mousavi and asked people to support him, I changed my position. I became hopeful and thought if Mousavi gets elected; society will open up like it did in Khatami’s reform era. Therefore, I joined the Mousavi campaign in Tehran and advocated for him. I was usually out every night when Mosuavi had a debate. The passion and the enthusiasm among the people were promising. People chanted “Ahmadi, bye bye” because they were certain that Ahmadinejad would lose the election

5. Our hopes were crushed, however. The Islamic Republic used us as a toy. We voted but the regime had decided in advance who the winner would be. Voting was just a game that the regime played with us. We went to the street to declare that we had been robbed of our votes and to show our discontent with the election result. We urged supporters of Mousavi and Karoubi to come out and demonstrate that we were more than the number of people the regime claimed voted for Mousavi and Karoubi.

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Witness Statements, Sexual Violence, Imprisonment