Home | English | Publications | Witness Testimony | Witness Statement: Maryam Sabri

Witness Statement: Maryam Sabri

12. In addition, there were plainclothes agents that clashed with the protestors. It was hard to distinguish whether they belonged to the IRGC or Basij. They were more aggressive and beat the demonstrators ruthlessly. Basij in Tehran have a very distinct look. They all have either beards or stubble, tight clerical collars that are closed all the way to their throats, baggy pants and shirts that are one size too large. Although Basij do not wear uniforms, their styles of clothing make them distinguishable from other forces.

13. Fadayan-e Rahbar (Special Forces of the Supreme Leader) were also involved in suppressing the demonstrators. We could distinguish between Basij and Fadayane Rahabr. In fact, they are a branch of the Basij but have a very strong commitment to the Supreme Leader and will die for him. They consider the Supreme Leader pious and an undisputed leader. If someone insults him, it is like insulting their loved ones. He is dearer to them than their loved ones.

14. It seemed like the security forces coordinated their activities with each other. I don’t think we dared to ask the forces to identify themselves. They were very hostile to us and didn’t answer any of our questions. They had come to beat us - not to help us. For instance, I saw them once beating a young man in Haft-e Tir Street. The man kept asking why they were beating him but they kept beating him without saying a word.

15. As the demonstrations continued, the size of the security forces increased on the street throughout the first week. I saw that NAJA brought more forces by buses and vans toTehran. For example, I saw NAJA emptying two mini buses full of people at Vanak Square.

16. Most often before targeting us with electric and regular batons, the security forces used tear gas and pepper spray. They beat us, chased us, and arrested us. Sometimes we responded and they would get hit and run. It was like a cat and mouse game. The plainclothes agents chased the demonstrators into homes and hit them there. For instance, I was in Sadatabad in Kaj Square with a bunch of other kids on a Saturday night. Basij saw us and came after us. We ran to hide. They pulled some of the kids from apartments and arrested them. They also arrested the apartment owners who hosted the kids.

17. Sometimes, the security forces attack peaceful demonstrators to rile them up and turn them into an angry mob. For instance, on a Monday at Azadi Square, the public walked from Imam Hossein Square to Azadi Square and chanted a lot. We stayed for a while at Azadi Square and then decided to o back to Imam Hossein Square. We did not chant any slogans on the way back. We walked in silence and held some pictures in our hands. The Basij would come and insult people and start fights. They would come and instigate the guys. In Azadi Street close to Enghelab [Street], a group of them had come amongst the people and insulted the wife of a man who was there and started a fight. They were Basij, plainclothes, with batons at their belt.

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

Tagged as:

Witness Statements, Sexual Violence, Imprisonment