Witness Statement: Shima Asaadi
Shima Asaadi, a young Kurdish Iranian woman from Sanandaj, Iran, describes her multiple arrests and her expulsion from university on account of her activities with the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
Name: Shima Asaadi
Place of Birth: Sanandaj, Iran
Date of Birth: August 3, 1986
Occupation: Student Activist
Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)
Date of Interview: April 16, 2010
Interviewer: IHRDC Staff
This statement was prepared pursuant to an in person interview with Shima Asaadi. The statement was approved by Shima Asaadi on April 4, 2011.
1. My name is Shima Asaadi, I am 24 years old and from Sanandaj. Prior to leaving Iran, I worked as a pool lifeguard. I was also an expelled student. In 1387 (2008), after my fourth semester of study in the field of agricultural engineering, I was expelled from the Azad University of Sanandaj for supporting the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran. Also, in that same year, I intentionally left Iran for Turkey. In addition, I converted from the Muslim faith to Christianity.
Becoming a Christian
2. Our family is comprised of five sisters, one brother, my father and my mother. Two of my sisters lived in Canada for the past eleven years and my two other sisters lived in Iran. My brother also lived on his own in Tehran. Every year, for the summer and New Year holiday, I travelled from Sanandaj to visit my brother in Tehran. In Tehran, I had a Christian friend. One time, I asked this friend to take me to church. This friend took me to a big church on Karimkhan Street. When we got there, they would not give me permission to enter the church because they found out I was a Muslim. After I insisted that I only wished to see the church, I was allowed to enter. Entering that location gave me an interesting feeling.
3. From that time on, I began to research the Christian faith. I also read the gospel and learned the path it preached. One night I heard the voice of Jesus during a dream so that when I woke up the next morning I was crying in intense joy. When I described my dream to that friend, the friend told me that Jesus had invited me to believe in him.
4. When I returned to Sanandaj, I joined a home church and went there on Sundays. By home church, I mean there were approximately ten to fifteen of us that gathered at one of the members' houses every week. Late in 2005, I was not able to go to church one Sunday. It just so happened that on that very same Sunday, agents arrested all of the members of the church. After that, I did not go to that church again and was obliged to pray on my own at home. In Iran, apostasy from Islam is a crime and is punishable by death.
Supporter of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran
5. I am a Sanandaj Kurd but I cannot write or read in Kurdish. I can speak the language but there are still some words I do not understand. We requested that the authorities allow instruction in the Kurdish language at least in schools within the Kurdistan province of Iran. We also wanted to wear Kurdish clothing but were not successful in either request. If an individual in Kurdistan attempted to do such activities, they would be faced with assaults and beatings.
6. I do not want to be subjugated. Why must we close our mouths! I paint, recite poetry, write stories. The content of my work revolves around women and the injustices and oppression they face. Why is it that a married man can have four women while his wife is still alive! Why is it that only a man has the right to divorce and not a woman!