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Witness Statement: Shima Asaadi

7. My sister's husband has a sister who works as an assistant for the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. I was very happy that she was fighting for me and for the people. When I was seventeen years old, when I had one year remaining until I finished high school, I traveled to Sulaymaniyah, Iraq and asked her if I could become a member of the Democratic Party. However, she did not allow me to join. She said membership in the Party would be dangerous because I was only seventeen.

8. Therefore, I was only a supporter of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. However, through the introduction of our same family, I became a member of the Azar Mehr Women's Organization of Sanandaj in 1385 (2006). The head of this organization was "Nagishe Khorasani." My job in the Azar Mehr Women's Organization was to help gather small amounts of money to give to the families of martyrs of the Democratic Party. We also launched a signature campaign for the prisoners of the Democratic Party of Iran and gathered signatures from the internet to prevent the execution of those prisoners. For example, we launched a signing campaign for Adnan Hassanpour, who received a death sentence and eventually, with our pressure, his sentence was changed from death to life imprisonment. In addition, we distributed CDs of information related to the Democratic Party to the people of Sanandaj in areas where the Democratic Party website was filtered.

Arrests

9. The first time I was arrested was in the summer of 2006 by the moral police in Sanandaj. They told me that my maghnaeh 1 was pulled back too far. However, I was not overly made up nor was I wearing inappropriate clothing. They transferred me to the Social Corruption Office for interrogation.

10. A lot of other girls and boys that were arrested were in the office. The authorities took me to another room for interrogation. A man, whom everyone else called Colonel Jafari, interrogated me. He was a sturdily built man with grizzly hair and stubble. He wore eyeglasses. Throughout the interrogation, he asked questions about my activities that connected me to the Kurdistan Democratic Party. I denied everything and said I did not know what he was talking about. I told him I was busy with books and my studies and did not know anything about a Party. At the end of the interrogation, he said he did not have any incriminating evidence against me and only wanted to better understand my involvement. I was eventually freed.

11. After that, the authorities arrested me a few more times, also for no reason. For example, agents said: we see that your pants are up to your knees, do you have stockings on your legs or no! One time they ripped up the boots I was wearing. Another time, they cut up my manteau2 since it was somewhat short. During this arrest, the man and woman agent both hit and slapped me but I was not tortured.

1A maghnaeh is one form of hejab—or mandatory Islamic covering for women in Iran. Maghnaeh is a tightly fitted headscarf that covers all the hair. All women wear the maghnaeh in the workplace and on college campuses.

2A manteau is a long or short coat worn by women as part of appropriate hejab—or mandatory Islamic dress.

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Kurds