Surviving Rape in Iran's Prisons
Witness Statement of Sorrour
Place of Birth: Mahabad, Iran
Date of Birth: 1984
Occupation: : Kurdish Activist
Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)
Date of Interview: February 27, 2011
Interviewer: IHRDC Staff
This statement was prepared pursuant to an interview with Sorrour. It was approved by Sorrour on May 30, 2011.
1. My name is Sorrour. I was a resident of Mahabad, a Kurdish city in Western Azarbaijan, Iran. I currently live in Turkey.
2. I left Iran for two reasons. The first reason was the serious troubles that my father, with the assistance of the Islamic Republic, created for my mother and me. The second one was because of a rape assault on me while in police custody in Tabriz.
3. My father belongs to the Mangur tribe of Kurds and is a military person that we call “Jash” in Kurdish. My grandfather had moved to Mahabad a long time ago. The Mangurs live mainly in the central parts of Mahabad. Mangur men are traditionally involved in military activities. Therefore, my father’s family has been a military family for generations. Most of the Mangurs are supporters of the Islamic Republic and consider themselves more Iranian than Kurds. However, physically they look like Kurdish people and speak Kurdish with a regional dialect.
4. My father is a Basij, a voluntary paramilitary force under the command of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps. I saw his membership card one day in his pocket. My friends, however, had told me before that my father was a Basij as they had spotted him in a military parade; I did not believe them until I saw his ID card. My father occasionally went on duty and disappeared for one or two nights. When we asked him where he was, he gave different excuses to cover up his activities. When he went on a mission, a car would come and pick him up. When he was home, he worked as a carpenter, boutique businessmen, welder and aluminum constructor, and performed some other manual jobs.
5. My mom was a Kurdish activist like my older brother and supported Komila and the Kurdistan Democratic Party which are leftist Kurdish organizations active in Iranian Kurdistan.
6. Thus, my father did not have good relationships with my mother and older brother. They used to fight with each other. Their relationship deteriorated particularly after my mother left my father. He started to abuse and mistreat her even more than before.
7. I have very painful and horrible memories of my father. He was responsible for having me arrested, tortured and raped by the Iranian police forces.
8. When I returned from military service, I saw that my father and mother had separated. My mother had gone to live with my older brother and informed him of the abuses she had suffered at the hand of my father. Then, we decided to move and live with my grandmother and under the protection of my mother’s brother. Life was not easy there either. I ran into serious trouble there too. I had a fight and my foot was broken, my hands were cut by a knife, my eye was injured, and my head was wounded.
9. Then my mother and I went to Tabriz to live away from my father’s reach. Nevertheless, he found us there four or five months later. He came to our home and threatened us and cursed my mom. I tried to stop him from cursing and insulting us. He wounded me with a sharp knife and cut my hand and throat. Then I heard an ambulance come. I was arrested and taken to a police station that was in the vicinity of my rented house.