Witness Statement: Tania Ahmadi Kaliji
Ahmadi Kaliji is a web blogger, and a vocal and outspoken critic of Iran’s death penalty. Her articles criticizing the stoning of women attracted the attention of the Iranian authorities, and led to her multiple arrests. In her witness statement, she describes how the same Iranian regime that executed her mother, a prominent leftist combatant, arrested her twice in the wake of the June 2009 elections. After her last arrest, she was thrown into a room where she was drugged and brutally tortured. Ahmadi Kaliji left Iran in February 2010.
Full Name: Tania Ahmadi Kaliji
Date of Birth: 16 September 1981
Place of Birth: Sari, Mazandaran, Iran
Occupation:: Doctor (Pathologist), Journalist and Activist
Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)
Date of Interview: April 19, 2010
Interviewer: IHRDC Staff
This statement was prepared pursuant to an in person interview with Tania Ahmadi Kaliji. The statement consists of 61 paragraphs and 8 pages. The interview was conducted on April 19, 2010. This statement was approved by Tania Ahmadi Kaliji on April 20, 2010.
1. My name is Tania Ahmadi Kaliji. I am 28 years old. Before I fled Iran, I worked as a pathologist at Milad Hospital in Tehran.
2. Over the past three years I have been arrested and/or detained five times because of my web blogs and my social activism. During my last detention in January 2010, I was brutally tortured. My torturers drugged me so that I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I saw that my index finger had ink on it. I believe this was because my finger was used to stamp a document confessing to crimes. I still am not sure if I made a confession, and if so, what crimes I confessed to.
3. In January 2010, a couple of weeks after my last arrest, I received an official court summons. I fled Iran soon after.
4. Although I worked as a doctor full-time, I was also involved in journalism and activism in support of women’s and children’s rights in Iran.
5. I started writing at the age of 16. I eventually started my own blog titled “khonyagar-e khamoosh” [silent musician] where I posted short stories, poems and articles.
6. I was also involved with the One Million Signatures Campaign for women’s equality in Abhar, Iran, where I was living at the time. A family member introduced me to the work of the Campaign. After I signed my name on the petition1 in 2007, I was given petition sheets to collect signatures in different cities, on buses, on taxis and at work.
7. In addition to the collection of signatures, I worked on other projects promoting women’s and children’s rights. Also, through the Campaign, I focused on efforts to stop the stoning and execution of women and children.
8. As my involvement with the Campaign grew, I started to write about its activities on my weblog. In this way, I hoped to disseminate information among the female populace about their rights.
1 The petition circulated by the One Million Signatures Campaign is an effort by women activists to reform gender discriminatory laws in Iran.