Victims and Witnesses
"A Thousand Litres of Bleach Couldn't Clean Your Black Heart: Go to Hell"
Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation
October 19, 2016
I am Solat Sheikhnia Jahromi. I was born on October 9th, 1959 in Jahrom. I graduated from high school and got a Mathematic Diploma in Jahrom. In 1980, I attended the State University of Shiraz to study toward a bachelor degree in Pure Mathematics. After the Cultural Revolution, I was reprieved. In 1988, I was able to go back to university after sending several letters to the Ministry of Science. However, in 1993, I was not given a registration card, although I only had 10 more credits to graduate. That is why I didn’t graduate.
The Beginning of Political Activities
In 1975, one of my relatives introduced the Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) to me so I read the book on Fatemeh Amini’s story and took an interest in the MKO. Afterwards, I started to work with them. In 1978, I started working as a fan of the MKO which was called National Movement at the time. In 1980, after moving to Shiraz, I started to work with the organization publicly and after two months I entered the community organization in Shiraz. My job included selling and distributing MKO’s journals in front of newsstands or crossroads, identifying Hezbollah members, writing daily reports and promoting the MKO. After 2 months, I entered the student identification team. Our job was finding the real name, information and address of Hezbollah members and guards who were involved with the beatings.
By the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, I got harassed. I was one of the guys who got heavily beaten after the Shiraz University invasion because we were inside the MKO’s office. After the university and dormitories shut down, me and other students who were in Eram dormitory number three, started our activities. At nights, we distributed leaflets. We gave daily reports and analysis on the news of the newspapers we read to the guy who was in charge of the student organization. After a while, they locked down the dormitory and told us to either leave the dormitory or they would burn it down. After that, in June of 1981, I returned to Jahrom and continued my activities as a messenger in the student organization. I collected the organization reports in Jahrom and either gave them to the organization in Shiraz, or to someone who came for it from other cities and took the package, which had different reports in it, from me. After two weeks, I got arrested on the June 28th, 1981.
Arbitrary detention, interrogation, torture
On June 28th, 1981, one of our relatives called our home from Tehran around 10 A.M. and said, “The Office of the Republic Party was attacked and bombarded. Exit Jahrom.” Therefore, my sister Parivash and I put on our clothes to leave the house when suddenly my ten-year-old brother came and said all the members of Jahrom’s Hezbollah were rushing into the house with sticks, stones and bats. We tried to leave through the other door but the house was surrounded by armed guards on all sides. They were on our neighbors’ rooftops too. So we went back inside the house. A lot of members of Hezbollah rushed into the house from the other side with stones, sticks and bats. More and more were coming. I knew some of the guards who were in plain clothes and most of the Hezbollah members such as Dashti, Ibrahim Zarei’an, who was later killed in a car accident, Esmai’l Yusefzade, who was Jahrom’s Friday Prayer Imam Ayatollahi’s son-in-law, Lotfollah Kashkuli’s family and Haj Abas Gholikashkui’.
That day, they hit not only me and my sister Parivash with sticks and bats, but also my mother, my aunt, my cousin, my older sister and her husband who were our guests that day. They tore our clothes, took off our scarfs, pulled our hair and insulted us terribly. They broke our windows and stole our home appliances. They broke utensils and vases. They opened my brother’s safe and took his money. They took all of our documents, books and pictures. Meanwhile, they told each other that the Ayatollahi proclaimed that all of our properties are halal and they can take them. They were even taking our washing machine and the refrigerator, which were very big, but in the yard, my brother in law said, “At least don’t take the washing machine and the refrigerator.” So they left them there. They pulled my hair so hard that I lost half of my hair. They broke my mother’s head. They hit me with sticks so much that my feet got wounded. They hit me and my sister on the face so badly that it left nail shaped wounds on our skin.
After an hour and a half, they arrested everyone, seven of us, except my father, my mother and my brother-in-law and transferred us to the Sepah Site on the Terminal Qadim Street. They made human corridor from the house door to the car. When we got out of the yard, they blindfolded us and we didn’t see what kind of car they were taking us in. Then they said, “You are not allowed to talk to each other. If you do we will beat you.” At the same time, I told the person who was sitting next to me, “Are you Parry? Or Aunt?” suddenly someone hit me with a gun on the head and said, “Shut up! Didn’t I tell you that you are not allowed to talk to each other?!” At the same time, my Aunt told us, “Don’t talk and just sit down, they don’t dare to do anything.” They only insulted us and said, “You have a very respectful father, so why did you take an interest in the MKO? They are despicable and you are even more despicable. It’s such a shame that Haji is your father; it’s such a shame that he wasted food on you to grow up. We will execute you to be a lesson for other members of your family, so that they don’t follow your path and fight against Islamic Republic of Iran. ” It was two-three minutes from our house to the Sepah Site but it took half an hour to get there.
When we got out of the car, they gave me a chador and said, “It is a sacred place, you should enter it wearing a chador.” They sat me and my aunt down on the chair. After a while, a female guard hit me on the head. My Aunt said, “Why do you hit her? Her head is bleeding; you didn’t leave any hair on her head.” She said, “They are Monafeq (Hypocrite)Monafeq (hypocrite)[a term used by Islamic Republic officials to refer to sympathizers and members of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization.], they are dirty; they deserve more than what we do to them. They did nothing to them yet, this is only the beginning.” After five-six minutes they called us, un-blindfolded us and said, “Enter the hall.” When we entered, I realized that they arrested about one hundred and fifty members of the MKO. One of the detainees was a student that I knew from my university and he was a member of the Organization of Iranian People's Fadai’ Guerrillas (Minority).
About one hour later, they took me to the investigation room blindfolded. Someone gave me something like a stick and said, “Follow me.” When I entered the room, he said, “Do not turn back, remove the blindfold and go straight ahead.” When I took off the blindfold, I saw Nasrollah Meimane, who was one of my distant relatives. Meimane said, “I want to advise you to stop doing what you are doing, I’m saying this because we are relatives and break food together. We will give you a job and make the arrangements, the only thing you should do is to write a letter of repentance and talk against the MKO at Friday prayer. Then we will release you. ” I said, “What is your explanation for that?” He replied, “I apologize to you on their behalf, they were unaware.” I said, “They were guards. Dashti and Esmai’l Yusefzade hit us; they were in guards’ uniform and armed. Could they do what they did arbitrarily?” he replied, “They are moaning right now. The Islamic Republican Party has lost their men, they got angry and came to your house. I apologize on their behalf. If you know someone, give us their names.” I said, “I’m sorry, I’m not a rat and I can’t cooperate with you.” He said, “Ok is this your last word?” I replied, “Yes it is my last word and I won’t write a repentance letter”.
They took me right away to a 1×1.5 square meter room which had no light and its floor was covered with a blanket. When I entered the room, they told me to take off the blindfold and give it to them through the hatch. There was a toilet there which was covered by cardboard and blankets. I was there in a total darkness for three days. They kept me there just to harass and torture me. Meanwhile, they mocked me every time I wanted to pray and said, “It’s not like Monafeqs (hypocrites) say prayers. Now go wash up and say prayers. ” When I wanted to use the bathroom, I knocked and they took me to a small bathroom which did not have any hygienic goods. They closed the door from the outside and said, “When you are finished, knock on the door”. They gave me only a low quality meal for lunch, one day macaroni, one day boiled eggs and one day boiled potato.
After three days they took me to a 3×4 square meter room. There was only a black military blanket in the room. At that time, I was worried about my family. I wondered what happened to them. I was stressed out and couldn’t have anything except tea. I supposed because it was Ramazan that one of the guards brought me a watermelon and said, “Your family brought this, so eat it.” I only ate it for Iftar. During Ramazan they gave me food and tea only at night.
They took me for interrogation blindfolded and interrogated me without removing my blindfold. I recognize the voice of the investigator; he was called Dashtabi. He gave me a paper and said, “Now that you won’t write a repentance letter, answer our questions. Which organization are you in?” I wrote, “I’m an MKO sympathizer and don’t have any information to give you.” He hit me on the head and said, “Write down that you are a Monafeq (Hypocrite).” I said, “I won’t.” He hit me again and I said, “I won’t write it, you want to execute me so do it. You said you wanted to execute me so this crime is enough for you to do it.” He said, “Shut up. Write down the names of the people you were working with. Who was your supervisor?” I didn’t reply. He said, “You won’t answer?” I said no. He said, “Ok then, you will write everything willingly after our brothers beat you brutally.” I said, “You haven’t shown me a warrant for arresting me yet, show it to me so I know for what crime you arrested me, then I will answer your questions.” This interrogation took fifteen minutes and there were three or four guys other than Dashtabi in the room who only mocked, insulted, and hit me with a folder that was in their hands or with the back of a pen and other things they had in their hands and said, “Tell us, who was your supervisor? Were they male or female? Give us all the information you have. Cooperate with us or we will kill you. We will slaughter you. You wrote that you are a MKO sympathizer; that is enough to execute you and we don’t need any other evidence. There was enough evidence in your house.”
I was held for two weeks and I wasn’t in touch with my family. During this time, they came to my cell sometimes saying, “Your brother Parviz got executed today, tomorrow is your turn. Parry got executed last week. Repent to god and ask him to forgive you.” Sometimes I thought they might actually have executed them, but still I resisted.
When I got transferred to the second cell, I got a fever. I said I wanted medications, but they didn’t give me any medications or medical facilities. I got salt and gargled my throat with salt and tea. I washed my feet with the water bottle they gave me to wash up. I was not allowed to take a bath.
Transferring to Fasa Shahrbani (Law Enforcement Force)
They took me outside the building blindfolded. I raised the blindfold for one second and realized that we were headed towards a cream-colored Peykan. Two men and three women were inside the car. When I sat down, they said you are not allowed to talk to each other. At the same time, the woman who was next to me wrote on the palm of my hand with her fingers that she is Parry and asked who I was, I got happy realizing that she was my sister Parry. I wrote that I was Solat.
While the car was moving, they threatened and harassed us. After a while the car stopped, someone got out and said, “Haji who should we execute first?” They took one of the women off and after a while we heard multiple gun shots. The driver said, “Well, we got rid of this one, you are next”. They held us there for a few minutes. They made noises and talked to each other for a while, it was like they were acting, “Go grab him, break his legs. They are truly dirty. ” We heard gun shots again.
The car started moving again and stopped after fifteen-twenty minutes. This time they took off one of the guys and we heard gun shots again. After a while they took another one off the same way and at the same time someone said, “Four of them went to hell, you two are next” I said, “We are three actually.” he said, “It is like you are in a hurry to get executed, Wait. Your turn will come”. The car stopped again. They took us off and held us in that area for a few minutes. From what we heard, we realized that we were inside the Sepah area and that their capacity was full, so they transferred us to the Fasa Shahrbani and a police officer who was in charge there took us in. the police officer let us remove our blindfolds after they left. Other than me and my sister, Farrokhchehr Haqdad and Afsaneh Rahmaniyan, who was a member of Peykar, were there. There were two other men too. At that time I realized Afsaneh and Farrokhchehr were the ones who were in our car from Jahrom and that there was another car that went along the way with us possibly.
They took me, Parivash, Afsaneh, and Farokhchehr to a big cell nearby. There were three other detainees other than us there. The cell was a big room including a kitchen, bathroom, and toilet. They had covered the windows of the room with newspapers and cardboard and we only knew the time by the sound of azan and Iftar. The kitchen was a small room with a carpet on the floor and had one bed. When we entered the room that day the police officer in charge said, “I give you these two rooms but if Sepah comes, you should tell them you are in the small room. You can go to the yard too, if it is empty and no one is there. Sepah has told us that we shouldn’t give you any hygienic goods, cleaning products or food.”
The next day, the police officer in charge came to our room and said, “Sepah is coming, go to the kitchen for a few minutes. I don’t want to bother you; you are our temporar guests anyway. ” I was in the kitchen when I heard him telling some guys, “We gave them this room, and as you said we didn’t give them any cleaning products; we followed your orders. ” The police officer in charge was one of the MKO’s sympathizers but they didn’t know it so this was the reason that he gave us these facilities. He even gave us some money and said, “In case you want to buy something. ” He called our families and told them we were in Shahrbani.
Two weeks later, my mother and my older sister came to visit me for the first time. We visited each other in person, in the room next to the room of the police officer who was in charge. The police officer in charge said, “Sepah has said to us that you are not allowed to visit anybody so no one should know about this visitation. Tell your family that if somebody saw them around here and asked why they are here tell them they are here searching, they heard Sepah brought their children to Fasa so they are looking for their children”. We didn’t have any time limit for our visitations but our families usually left after thirty minutes. They were able to visit us only three times during that time.
In our visitations, I realized that they had freed my aunt and cousin. My older sister was freed after two days. My other sister Mahvash was freed three days later but they made her sign a pledge. They released my youngest brother Mohammad, who was in fifth grade, after a short while. But they didn’t let Mohammad and Mahvash enroll in school again. On the same day of the arrests, they went to my brother’s work place at the Telecommunication Company and arrested him. They issued a mandatory ruling for him and said in Friday prayer, “We arrested him in a house with some women and we will flog him for having illegitimate relationships. ” However, my brother only had organizational activities and activities to support the organization.
We weren’t allowed to use medical facilities When we got sick, the police officer in charge of Shahrbani provided us with medications secretly. Later they realized the police officer in charge of Shahrbani, whose name was Samimi or Salimi, was an MKO sympathizer and they executed him.
The Islamic Enqelab Court of Qom
We were detainees in Fasa Shahrbani for three months and they neither took us to the court nor interrogated us during that time. Until one morning, the police officer in charge came and said, “Pack your belongings, don’t take any cleaning products with you. Don’t take any shampoo, soap, or a toothbrush, because these things were forbidden for you. Put two dirty clothes in your bag. Because they may punish you or us.” We put our clothes in the bags that our families had brought us. Guards came to our room after that. They blindfolded four of us and said “We take you to carry out your sentence” we laughed and said, “We didn’t see any rulings or any arrest warrants or a death sentence. We wished to see a death sentence at least. We wished to sign it at least.” They replied, “They will read your sentence out loud and give it to you to sign right before they shoot you”
At Shahrbani, when they wanted to take us to the car, the guards took our bags and said, “You are on death row you don’t need to take these. They took us to a bus that day along with many detainees and sat us down on the floor. I think there were three officers that day with us, who harassed us a lot. They kicked us to the chairs constantly.
I think we had passed Darvaz-e Shiraz and were on the hill that the car stopped and they said, “Get out one by one. ” Two female guards came and took our hands when we got out of the bus and we went up the hill. There was a bathroom and they let us wash our hands and face. Then they said, “Take the food. ” It was macaroni inside bread. We tried It but we couldn’t eat because it was too sour and burnt our tongue. One of the female guards said into my ear, “You poor, we are going to execute you, still you don’t repent?” I said, “No we chose our path. ” She hit us hard on the head and said, “You are dirty; a thousand litres of bleach couldn't clean your black heart. You should go to hell; you deserve it.” After five-six minute they handcuffed us with metal handcuffs and sat us down on the bus floor again. They poured water beneath us deliberately along the way, we protested and said, “Why do you do this?” One of the guards said, “One of the prisoners wanted to drink water and spilled it. ” But they were lying, because it was a lot of water.
The minibus stopped the next noon and they took everybody off. One of the guards said to Farokhchehr, “I am your father’s pupil and I owe him, so I should tell you the fact that when you leave here they are either going to execute you or give you a life sentence.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Andalib, the judge, is going to issue a ruling for you.” We asked if we were in court or Sepah. He said, “I’m sorry I can’t tell you.”
When we entered the building, they said, “It is time to say your prayers and have lunch, the judge won’t see you now.” They took me, my sister, Afsaneh, Farokhchehr, Shokufe Farsad and five other people to a room that was carpeted and had a little hatch on the door. They closed the door and left. They gave us two pieces of bread and two little bowls of yogurt for lunch. One hour after lunch, the same guard who was Farokhchehr’s father’s pupil called us and said, “Get ready and come”. He blindfolded us and we went up a few stairs then he said, “Sit down and I will call you.” They called me first. When I entered the room, I raised the blindfold for one moment and saw Andalib sitting in front of me. There were two desks and chairs on his right where two mullahs were sitting. When I raised my blindfold Andalib said, “Why did you raise your blindfold, bastard?” I said that I wanted to fix my headscarf and put my hair in it in order to keep my hijab, Andalib said, “It is ok, you can remove your blindfold,” I said, “Seriously? I can remove it?” I was going to remove my blindfold when somebody hit me hard on the head and I got fuzzy for a few minutes.
I sat on a chair which was in front of the judge and he said, “Name, surname, are you a Monafeq (Hypocrite)?” I said, “No I’m Mojahed.” He said, “Bastard, ungentle, take this son of a bitch out of here. ” They sentenced all five of us the same way in two minutes and sent us downstairs. When we were taking the stairs down, that same guard said to us, “You should thank God. You were on death row, I took six Abadeh guys there instead of you when it was your turn, and said to the judge that you say your prayers. Those six people got sentenced to death, so you will be sentenced to life imprisonment. If I had taken you before them, you would have got executed for sure.” We realized that six other guys got sentenced to death when we were transferred to the prison.
It was almost 8 P.M. when they blindfolded us again after we said our prayers and took us to a minibus along with five-six guards. They took us off the minibus in the Sepah site of Isfahan and sat us down separately. I was shivering from the cold when an old man came and said, “Sit on that chair in the sun to dry out, your clothes are wet. ” They wetted the seats of the minibus so our clothes got wet. I took off my blindfold and sat on the chair next to the garden. The light hurt my eyes and I couldn’t see properly. That old man said that he was a cook there. He said, “What happened? Why did they arrest you?” when I stated my charges he said, “There are not any cells here, they will transfer you somewhere else.” A few minutes later one of the guards came and said, “Why did you let her remove her blindfold? Tell her to wear the blindfold then we come.” The old man got frightened and said, “I told her to sit in the sun because her chador was wet and she was cold”. The guard lifted me up and said, “Sit down on the ground”. We were there for about three hours without food. The cook came a few times and asked if he could feed us but the guard said that we had been fed. But one time the old man put a cake in my hand and said, “Eat it quickly. ”
After approximately three hours, they handcuffed us with metal handcuffs and took us onto the bus along with two guards. It was not dark yet when we arrived at Adelabad prison which was owned by Shahrbani. The name of the police officer who took us into the prison was Ja’fari. He took our blindfolds off for a while to read our ruling out load. “You are sentenced to life imprisonment.” I said, “What about the charges?” he said, “What is written here is just this: Monafeq (Hypocrite)Monafeq (hypocrite)charged with conspiracy against the Islamic republic, apostasy, Moharebeh (enemy of God), affiliation with the MKO”. They wrote the charges of our friend who was a member of Peykar too, “Moharebeh, Atheist and pagans, conspiracy against the Islamic republic”.
Another officer of Shahrbani whose name was Ms. Abdolhassani took us to another room for fingerprinting and taking our pictures. We were blindfolded while fingerprinted but we removed it to take pictures. Ms. Abdolhassani hung a number around our necks and took pictures of us; they took a picture with chador and blindfold too. They didn’t have any separate ward for female political prisoners at the time so they took us to the females’ ward. There were four people in charge of the ward, Mr. Asgari, Mr. Ja’fari, Ms. Zabihi and Ms. Abdolhassani.
Each ward had three floors. Each floor had 42 rooms in two rows, three bathrooms, three or four toilets for almost 600 prisoners. There was only one political prisoner in the females’ ward along with her two children named Saman and Sara. Everyone knew her by the name of Scent Mother. They arrested her two other daughters and took them to the prison after a while and executed her three other children in those years of prison. When we entered the ward, we sat on the bed of Scent Mother. They brought two military blankets for five of us. One for me and my sister and another one for the three others. We put the blankets below the Scent Mother’s bed and slept on them at nights so that we wouldn’t be in touch with other regular prisoners. We demanded and wrote several letters to Majid Torabpur to separate our room but he didn’t care. We were in that situation for three weeks and our families didn’t know where we were.
One day, after three weeks, they brought sixteen political prisoners into the ward. There wasn’t enough space to sleep. We objected and didn’t sleep that night at all. They gave us a 3×4 square meter room the next morning that had three double deck beds in it. There wasn’t enough space to sleep alone, so we slept close to each other.
On December 10th, 1981, the Dastgheib Assassination Anniversary, the Shiraz Friday Prayer Imam came to prison and gave a speech to the regular prisoners in the ward’s yard. Meanwhile, one of the Shahrbani guards came and said to us, “Go to your room, close the door and put the bed behind it. The other prisoners will attack you very soon”. We all went to our room except my sister and Afsaneh who were in the bathroom, but we didn’t have the chance to close the door. My sister and Afsaneh got beaten badly that day and other prisoners pulled their hairs. Then they came to our room and beat all of us. We defended ourselves and threw them out. We closed the door and put a bed behind it. They punched and kicked the door and said, “Down with the Monafeqs (hypocrites). Monafeqs (hypocrites) should be killed. Monafeqs (hypocrites) should be executed.” They cursed at us and said, “When you come out at night, we will kill you and we won’t let you be alive anymore. At the end of the night, they got tired and went to their salon. We opened the door and went there to talk to them, they said, “They said to us: You should go and beat Monafeqs (hypocrites) brutally, Monafeqs (hypocrites) killed Dastgheib and the Friday Prayer Imam. ” They promised drugs to the addicted ones and freedom to the others. We said, “They are liars, we want to live here and have no problem with you.” They calmed down that night but they attacked us the next week with less force than before.
There were two bathrooms in the females’ ward and every prisoner could bathe once every two weeks. Also we had to wait in line to use the toilets. We weren’t allowed to use cleaning products and hygienic goods but one of the female guards brought us a Dettol antiseptic solution and said, “If you want to use the bathroom or toilet use this first, other prisoners have dangerous diseases.” They gave us two low quality meals each day and the breakfast was just tea. There were three types of food: vegetable stew without meat, Adas Polo without meat (an Iranian meal consisted of lentils, rice and meat), and Gheyme stew (an Iranian meal made with split peas and meat). We found cockroaches once or twice in our meals. They brought us meals on steel trays along with a spoon. Later we paid and they brought five-six plates for us. Ms. Abdolhassani who was a very kind person brought cups and mugs for us. We were allowed to go to the yard for half an hour every two weeks.
We were in females’ ward for about two months until the Sepah took us to the ward four which was for political prisoners. They took some of the prisoners to the third floor and they took me, my sister and three other prisoners, with whom we were tried, to the second floor. None of the prisoners were allowed to go to other floors and we could only go to the bottom floor office to take hot water for tea. Every room had three or four prisoners. There was one bed in each room, blankets on the cell floor and they gave each cell one flask. They gave plates to us in the political ward. The political ward was very dirty. The bathroom and toilet were very dirty. They brought bleach to clean it but it didn’t work so they cleaned it with some kind of tools so that we could use the bathroom and the toilet. The bathroom had only cold water so we took showers every week in summer and every two weeks in cold seasons. We were allowed to go to the yard which was next to the ward once every week. Sometimes they didn’t let us use the yard for two or three weeks. Later we realized when the MKO did an operation or an assassination, they prevented us from using the yard. They blindfolded us every time they had to bring us out of the ward, for any reason, visitations for example.
About three and a half months after being transferred to the forth ward, our families were able to visit us.
25 or 26 people could go to the visitation room each time. Visitations were held behind a secure glass and we had to talk through a phone (cabin visitation). They happened once a week for about five to ten minutes. It was so difficult that it was like torture to us. We would rather not have any visitations. It was so difficult for our families that even officer Sha’bani said many times to us, “Tell your families to not come for visitations, you don’t have any problems here but I swear to God they are getting tortured by coming here.” We never had any face to face visitations except in 1983. Ayatollah Montazeri granted an amnesty and they let all political prisoners (who had visitors) have a face to face visitation. Face to face visitations were held in the yard. They told the families that they were allowed to bring a meal and a cookie. My mother and my older sister came to visit me.
They took us to Hosseinieh on Thursdays and Fridays for guidance. A clergy man came and gave speech to us, “You are our war captives; we can do anything we want to you. ” My sister and I were detainees together in ward four and the females’ ward for two years until the late winter of 1983. They took to us to the Sepah prison number 100 in Sepah Street Shiraz and separated our wards. They took me to ward four and my sister to ward two.
Further Questioning, Harassment and Torture
We were among four-five people who were transferred to Sepah prison blindfolded that day. They gave me to the person in charge of ward four and said, “She is forbidden to talk, don’t let her talk to anybody.” I was forbidden to talk for three weeks and if I needed anything, I could only talk to the person in charge of the ward. Ward four was a big hall with a television. It only had one room and there was a playground behind it which others used as a warehouse. They put their bags or hung their wet clothes there. Although there were about 70 prisoners there, the ward had only two toilets and one bathroom. We had to wait in line to use the toilet. We could use the bath whenever we wanted, but because there were so many of us we could only use it every two weeks. There were some prisoners who could leave the ward at nights and come back the next morning and they went to the bathroom right after that, and nobody was allowed to object. Later I heard that they had a special warrant. It was like somebody told the officer in charge of the ward to allow them to use the bathroom whenever they wanted.
I was in ward four for four months without any interrogations until one day they took me to the interrogation room blindfolded. The first interrogation was done by a guy under the alias Moshiri, who said that he was a medical student and left the university after the war to serve voluntarily for the Islamic Republic. He talked about different people for the first hour and after that the interrogation took three hours. Moshiri said, “We know everything about you. There is nothing left untold. We know everything we needed to know. We want you to show that you are honest. If we know that you really regret what you did, we will issue a new ruling and you may even get released. It depends on your attitude.” I said, “You say you know everything about me so what should I tell?” he said, “You should reply to our questions honestly. In addition, if you abuse my attitude, you will have to deal with Karim. You have probably heard about Karim’s reputation. Do you know Karim? You can’t get away from him.” I said, “Ok you ask; I will answer.” He said, “Write about your activities for the MKO.” I wrote very briefly, “When I got arrested, the MKO didn’t really do anything significant and it was only a month that the MKO had started to defend itself, I didn’t do anything except distributing journals. He said, “Ok write them down and tell who were you with?” I wrote down the names of the people who I knew were executed or got killed in conflicts and said, “They were my supervisors.” He said, “Do you know what happened to these people?” I said, “No. ” He said, “Don’t you have any new information about them? That they are in prison or not?” I said, “I have lost contact with them after my arrest. ” I wrote down one or two pages Q and A and then he said, “You can go to your ward but you are forbidden to talk.”
When I entered the ward, one of the prisoners asked, “What happened at the interrogation?” I said, “Nothing, but they told me I’m forbidden to talk”. They interrogated me the next day again. The person who took me out of the ward said, “Do you know who I am?” His voice was different from Moshiri so I said, “Karim.” He said, “Well done, so you are very clever. Do you know where I’m going to take you?” I said, “To interrogate me.” he said “No. We are going somewhere that you will never cheat our interrogator again.” I said, “I was interrogated. They asked I answered.” He said, “Shut up and don’t talk. You will get flogged and you will learn your lesson, then you will come and answer the questions like a good girl”.
Karim had a terrible voice. He was aggressive. He always was demeaning to prisoners and he was in charge of whipping. When Karim was taking me to the bottom floor, he said to one of the prisoners, “Do you see this Monafeq (Hypocrite)? She was forbidden to talk, but she talked so I’m taking her to whip her 25 times. So be careful.” He said to one of the ladies there, “Come and take her.” They laid me on my back there, tied my hands to the upper part of the bed and my legs to the bottom part of it. They whipped me mostly on the bottom of my feet and toes. The first ten- twelve strokes felt like needle to my feet. It had an extreme pain but I tried not to scream. I knew there were other prisoners there, because I was hearing others getting hit brutally at the same time. They had laid down a boy next to me who suddenly said, “Oh God, my kidneys exploded! You claim you are a Muslim so cover my genitals at least”. It was obvious that he was naked and they were whipping him. I think the whip was made of cable with wires inside of it, because the whip scratched my neck and, of course, it was obvious that it had wires inside from the marks it left on my feet and my toes.
My feet were swollen, wounded and bleeding badly. They took me to the bachelors’ ward after the 25 strikes and didn’t tell me that I was forbidden to talk this time. They only said, “Don’t wash your feet. If you don’t wash your feet, it will be ok. Don’t go wash your feet so that it gets worse and talk against us that they tortured you this badly and this happened.” I got a bad fever that night. Other prisoners knocked the door and asked for medications from the person in charge of the ward but he said, “No. She is faking it and she will get well soon.” My fever didn’t go down. Other prisoners tried to bring it down using lemons and fruits. They took me out of the room blindfolded after two days. I entered another room after a short walk. Dr. Bustani, who was a prisoner herself, prescribed some medications for me. They gave me medicines at specific times for about one week but my fever didn’t break. Later, they realized my feet had become infected. They took me to the same room again. When the doctor came, she said, “Remove your blindfold.” I saw the interrogator when I took my blindfold off. He had covered his face with a piece of cloth in the shape of a mask and I could only see his eyes and his month. He was Moshiri. The doctor said, “Her feet need to be stitched up”. Moshiri stitched my feet up himself and sent me to the bachelor ward. They gave me a capsule to take at a specific time.
They took me for interrogation again, ten-twelve days after my feet got healed. This time, Moshiri was the interrogator and said, “I treated you well that time because you are from a respectful and a believer family. You are like my sister. I wanted to help you. Be like the others. Listen to my words and answer every question I ask. Otherwise, you have to deal with Karim.” I said, “I answered all of your questions.,” He said, “What you wrote is useless, write about the prison organization. ” He asked that question several times and I wrote the information that I knew they know about. Moshiri hit me on the head and said, “These are not enough. Write more, something new. ”
What he meant by prison organization was the prison order that maintained the morale of the prisoners and prevented them from cooperating. It meant any teamwork like exercising, singing anthems, saying prayers, eating, reading and helping each other was a crime and they called it prison organization. Even reading Quran was forbidden. They said, “When you read the Quran together you interpret it from your own perspective. ” We used to do some artwork using bread dough and date seeds and if they found one of these with any of the prisoners, they would whip them for having an organization.
Another question that he wanted me to answer was this: “Who spread the rumors about typhus getting spread between the prisoners, to the outside of the prison?” I wrote, “First, it wasn’t a rumor. Second, it was not typhus, prisoners got louses.” He said, “Who said that?” I said, “Everybody told their families about it. ” He said, “No. Answer the question. Someone particular has said it. We want the name.” I said, “I don’t know who said it because I myself said to my family that we got louses.” My answers weren’t convincing so he repeated his questions over and over and although my feet hadn’t fully recovered, he took me to the corridor and said, “You should stand here until you decide to write the name we want and you are not allowed to sit down.”
I was facing the wall, blindfolded but not handcuffed. During the time I was standing there, I could hear the interrogator talking and turning the interrogation pages. They were clearly interrogating the other prisoners. About seven hours later, I fell down and hit a chair because I was too tired. The interrogator came immediately and said, “Get up. Will you write it down or you want to keep standing there?” I said, “I swear to God that I don’t know. Whose name should I write? You tell me which name to write and I will do it.” He said, “Hell, no. Do you want us to put words in your mouth?” I said, “I don’t know. You want a name, but I don’t have one.” He said, “OK then. Keep standing here.” Whenever I fell down, he hit me hard in the face with anything he had in his hands or with something like a scarf and said, “Get up.” Every seven-eight hours I told them that I had to go to the bathroom so that I could take a rest a little, and they would take me there. I told them, “I want to say my prayers.” They said, “Do it standing without washing up.” They gave me one meal a day and I couldn’t tell if it was lunch, dinner, or breakfast. Sometimes it was cheese with cucumber and sometimes rice and stew.
They kept asking, “Write that you were arrested in a safe house. Which of the people who were arrested in the safe house do you know? Do you know this person?” I said, “I do but I don’t know if they were arrested or not. I just know them because they are my neighbors and I didn’t know whether they were Monafeq (Hypocrite)Monafeq (hypocrite)or not.” Their intention was to irritate me. They wanted fake confessions. They wanted to frame the guys who were in solitary cells and under interrogation, and I could not lie. I told them that I could not lie, no matter how much they pressured me. I said, “You are asking me about something I don’t know.” They hit me hard and said, “Shut up! It’s not like we have honest Monafeqs (hypocrites). Is there any Monafeq (Hypocrite)Monafeq (hypocrite)who has said anything true? Is there any Monafeq (Hypocrite)Monafeq (hypocrite)who has done anything right? Is there any Monafeq (Hypocrite)Monafeq (hypocrite)who is clear and has escaped from your guys? All of the MKO members have illegitimate relationships with each other.” I said, “It is a lie, I don’t approve it, I won’t write it down.”
They had kept one of the prisoners standing in the same hallway for forty days and they hit him all the time. I heard them tell him, “You are very stubborn, you are very tough. You have been beaten for forty days but you are still standing. Don’t you want to give up?”
I stood there for about six days, until one night I heard a terrifying sound in the ward which was like an earthquake. They gathered all of us quickly and said, “Take them into their ward.” They first took me to ward two., The ward’s guard said, “She does not belong to this ward.” Then they took me to a different ward and they said the same thing again. They were puzzled. They took me to bachelors’ ward, the guard said, “She belongs to this ward.” The person who was with me said, “Get ready to come out.” They took us all to the yard. We weren’t blindfolded in the yard. It was a cold night. Nobody dared to ask why they had taken us there. The atmosphere of the prison was such that no one dared to talk. We realized from the voices and their actions that a new group was arrested. We stayed there for about two hours until they returned us to the bachelor ward.
The next day, which I’m sure was December 4th, they took me out of the ward blindfolded and to the detention room. Before I entered the room, the interrogator said, “Do you know Hossain Mohammadzadeh?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “So you know that you have to come to talk to him in order to extract information from him. If you don’t do it, you will be sorry.”
Hossain Mohammadzadeh was one of our distant relatives and one of the MKO sympathizers. As far as I knew, he was a simple member. Until 1981, he just received journals from me, but after my arrest, I didn’t know how far he had gone. The interrogator told me that when he was arrested, he was armed.
When I entered the interrogation room, they unblindfolded me. Karim, Moshiri, and two or three other people were standing behind me. Everyone was masked. Karim was very tall and thin and he had long hands that were suitable for torturing, unlike Moshiri who was very frail. When I raised the blindfold, I saw a terrible scene. Hossain was so badly tortured that he could not sit on the chair. He was tied to the chair with a bloody blanket. They had covered his knees with another bloody blanket. All his ribs were broken, his lips were torn, and his face was a mess, not a single part of his face was intact. They had hit him so hard that he could not speak. They asked him, “Do you know this person?” He said, “Hi Solat, how are you?” I couldn’t bear to see him. I said, “Hossain, they know you once came to Fasa to meet me, they know about the financial aid. Tell them, why don’t you tell them?” After I said that, the interrogator hit me in the face with something like a cardboard and said, “Shut up, Monafeq (Hypocrite), we didn’t tell you to put words in his mouth so that he gives us useless information.” When Hossain raised his legs trying to kick the interrogator, I saw the flesh on his legs was hanging. They took me back to the cell and said, “We will deal with you later, you haven’t learned your lesson.”
On December 7th, they took me out of the ward. Suddenly the interrogator hit me against the wall and said, “Shame on you! Do you know how miserable you are? How can you look your family in the eyes when you are released?” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Don’t you understand?” I said, “No, I’m not miserable.” He said, “Ok, Ok, so you really don’t understand. Very well, come with me, when we run the tests on you, you’ll know, the doctor will tell you.” Then he said, “So who did it?” I asked “Who did what? I don’t understand what you are saying.” He said, “Very well. I’ll ask you another question. Answer this honestly or I will take you to the basement right now. What was the matter with Hossain? What was his disease?” I said, “He didn’t have a particular disease.” He hit me in the forehead so bad that I hit the wall. He said, “What was his disease? Did he have a heart disease? Did he have meningitis?” I said, “No, he just sometimes had nervous headaches which was possibly migraine but he didn’t know for sure. The interrogator sent me to the ward again and left. After a while I realized that Hossain passed away due to the tortures and they wrote in his case that the cause of his death was heart failure. Two weeks after Hossain’s death, they transferred me to the solitary cell in the basement.
One of the things that happened in the Intelligence Protection Organization of Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution was that one of the prisoners named Esmat Bustani, who was a member of Majority (Fedaiyan Khalq), examined the girls as a gynecologist and wrote down that they were not virgins with no exception. They wanted to take me to her a few times but I resisted and didn’t let them. They even hit me without taking me to the basement, they hit me in the face with their bare hands. But I said, “I won’t let you. You have to show me a warrant given by a court. The first time I was taken to the court without a warrant, we were arrested without a warrant, we were not charged in the court, and we were not allowed to defend ourselves. If you say you are following the law, then examine me through a legal process and according to the ruling of an Islamic judge.” However, I think when they were stitching my feet, they examined me as I was unconscious. I know that because later I figured out that they had added a page to my case saying that I wasn’t virgin, that’s why the interrogator told me straightforwardly “You are screwed.”
The bachelor’s ward was a 3×3 room with no particular objects. The floor was carpeted and there was a few Mohrs (Mohr is a clayish stone on which Muslims put their foreheads for praying). The blankets weren’t enough and every two people shared one blanket. There were eight of the MKO members other than me. In order to use the toilet and wash up for prayers, they used to take us to the toilet outside the cell blindfolded in the morning, noon, and evening. During the time I was in the bachelor’s ward, I didn’t use the bathroom because I had stitches and it wasn’t good for me to wash myself. Most of the people in the bachelor’s ward didn’t use the bathroom and didn’t even know where it was because they had received lashes. When we went to the toilet to use it and wash up, we could wash our hair with cold water.
The solitary cell was very small and you could only sleep in the fetal position. There were a few dirty blankets lying on the cell floor. It was too dark and there was no light.
After a week, they took me for interrogation again. The questions were repetitive and after they saw me giving the same answers, they flogged me again, although my wounds hadn’t healed yet. They laid me down on a bed. I think I received five lashes when my legs became numb and I couldn’t count the lashes anymore. The interrogator hit me harder because he thought I was very resistant. As a result, my stitches got opened and my wounds started bleeding. This whip was also made of a leather cable with wires inside. They took me to the cell again, opened the door and threw me a bandage and said, “Bandage your wound”. After an hour, the pain in my legs started. I think, during the time I was in the solitary cell, they took me for interrogation four or five times. The interrogations took about two or three hours and they hit me hard with anything they had in their hands, such as rulers, cases, or Keffiyehs. They insulted me with words such as piece of shit, mercenary, and they called me a whore several times.
In the second week of the interrogation, the interrogator came and said, “You can take a bath if you want to.” I was scared at first, but I went anyway in order to see how the bathroom was and know who went to the solitary cell because I thought the others might have engraved their names on the shampoos. When I went there, I saw a shampoo that was for Farzaneh Kashkuli, who was executed later. I was in solitary cell for more than two weeks and I was sent to the general ward four again and wasn’t allowed to talk for a week.
Retrial and Transference to Prison
After a while, I was taken to branch 2 of Enqelab Court of Shiraz and Mire’madi, the Attorney General, for a retrial. Mire’madi was temporarily there to examine the cases and there were also two assistants named Nasiripur and Esfandiari who had come from Bandar Abbas and Isfahan. They took five or six of us there blindfolded, but I wasn’t blindfolded in the Attorney General’s room. The Attorney General, the two assistants, a female guard, and a court clerk, whose name was Nejabati, were present for my retrial. The assistant for my case was Nasiri. When the trial began, the Attorney General said, “God has mercy on you, he likes you. That’s why you haven’t been executed. You should be thankful; although you were a member of the organization, we granted you amnesty and we want you to stay in prison again. Maybe you repent and your divine amnesty will be granted by Imam.” I said, “Give me the verdict to sign.” He said, “You are charged with being a member of the MKO and being present in the MKO office. The former verdict remains in your case and will not be reduced. You don’t have to sign anything, we just wanted to read you your charges.” The court session took about 6 minutes and they sent me directly to ward four in Adelabad Prison afterward.
In the prison, they didn’t have anything to do with us except for hitting and flogging us. They didn’t even take us for more interrogations. I didn’t receive lashes, but I was beaten. Torabpur, the director of the prison, promised freedom to some of the prisoners, which motivated them to give daily reports about the MKO members. For example, when we were sitting in the room, the guards would rush in and beat someone harshly. Even Torabpur herself would come to curse and hit the prisoners. One time, she came in with a cable and I saw the wired cable that they used in Sepah prison for flogging for the first time. Another time, she hit the prisoners with very thick chains.
In 1986, I was freed, although I had a life sentence. In fact, in 82 and 83 Ayatollah Montazeri granted amnesty to all political prisoners, therefore our life sentence was reduced to five years of imprisonment and during that time we were not told anything about it. At first, when we were transferred to the general ward, we were only vaguely told by Mr. Ja’fari, “I think you have been granted amnesty.” We asked, “Do you know how long it’s been reduced to?” He said, “I don’t know, I just know that all the prisoners have been granted amnesty and I’m sure it includes you, but I don’t know how long.”
That’s how I was released in August 1986 at 10:30, after signing a pledge and on bail, which was the deed to our house. My sister was released one or two months earlier than me. That day I was called and told, “Pack your things and come here.” I remember that my father and older brother, who lived in Shiraz, had come to the prison. I went to branch 2 of Islamic Enqelab Court of Shiraz with a guard and Mr. Ja’fari in my brother’s car. The assistant requested a written pledge saying that I wouldn’t do anything wrong from then on. Then he said, “I know that when you go past this door you will never be clear. Your repentance only lasts as long as you are here and when you pass that door you will forget about your repentance. But here you have to write that you repent and you will never do anything against the Islamic Republic of Iran and you do anything in the future and we prove it, the court is allowed to punish you the way it should.” The session didn’t take too long. I just wrote the pledge and signed it.
After I was released, my mother said, “When we came to visit you, the guards cursed and swore. They poured water under our feet deliberately. In the houses across Adelabad, there were some small trees where we could sit under their shadows in the summer. But as soon as the trees grew big enough to cast a shadow, they came and uprooted them and threw them in the stream. Wherever we sat, they would make us move and say, ‘Don’t sit here, go sit over there. Don’t sit together, scatter.’ The guards collected stones in front of the prison and threw them at us saying that they just wanted to move them. We said that we would collect the stones and take them away ourselves. The next week, we went there and saw that they had collected a lot of small stones again.”
Returning to College and Temporary Detentions
I was very careful after my freedom and I couldn’t trust anyone. I lost touch with other people, and I was too tired to do anything. I just dealt with my studies and my mother’s disease, because one month after our arrest she was paralyzed and could not walk. I tried my best to go back to university but I was told that I was suspended. I wrote so many letters to them that, in 1988, they let me enroll in the university in the field of mathematics again.
After I was released, I had to go to the News Agency in Shiraz, which was located in Zand St. between Falak-e Setad and the City Hall Square, every Thursday to give my signature. We had to wear a chador in order to enter the agency. Sometimes, someone whose last name was Ettela’at and whose nickname was Haj Ibrahim called for questioning. “What do you do? Whom do you interact with? Who are your friends?” After a while, I went to a residential house in the alley across Anvari Three ways to give my signature. If they had any questions, either they asked me on the phone or a female guard named Hosseinitold me to go to the News Agency.
In June 1993, when the final exams had started, they called my dormitory and said, “Tell Sheikhnia to visit Ms. Hosseini . Tell her that she knows why.” I went to the same house at 9. First, Haj Ibrahim told me on the phone, “What should we do to discipline you? You can’t be disciplined.” I said, “What has happened? I didn’t do anything wrong.” He said, “Why are you still in touch with them?” I said, “With whom? I don’t go anywhere else than Ms. Sa’adati’s house.” He said, “I was talking about Ms. Sa’adati too. Come here now.” I said, “I have an exam tomorrow.” He said, “You come to the News Agency right now. We’ll figure out something for tomorrow.” At that time, the only place I had been was Ms. Sa’adati’s house. She was one of my cellmates, and I knew her before I went to jail. When I got to the News Agency, they blindfolded me and took me into a room and said you can take off the blindfold.
After fifteen or twenty minutes, nobody came, so I knocked on the door and said, “I have an exam tomorrow. If Haj Ibrahim wants to talk to me, tell him to come.” They said, “We determine when he should come. After an hour and a half, they told me to blindfold myself. After I blindfolded myself, they handed me a pen and took me to a different room where Haj Ibrahim was sitting. After I sat on the chair, Haj Ibrahim asked me about Mohtaram (Badri) Sa’adati, Mohammadreza Sa’adati’s sister, who was a member of the MKO and was executed in 1979. He said, “We will let you go now, but you should tell me what she said about Mr. Ja’fari. Do you know him? Has Badri told you anything about him or not?” After it was over, he said, “You are free to go now,” but he threatened me, “If you tell Badri anything about this, you know what’s going to happen. It must be very important to you to continue your studies, right? If we find that you have gone to her house again, we will expel you from university.” I left the agency at two and went to Ms. Sa’adati’s house immediately. I saw Badri on the way and told her, “They called me over and asked me these questions, what’s this all about?” She got frightened and scared and said, “I’m not going back home. Go to my house, and fetch me my birth certificate and a plastic bag that contains some jewelry which is in the dresser.” The next day, they told me to go to the News Agency, although I had an exam. At the agency, I asked if I could take my exam and come later, but they said no. I knew there was no going back, because the night before, when I called Ms. Sa’adati’s house, I heard her mother crying and saying, “I haven’t heard from Badri.” That was when I realized Badri was in trouble; either she had escaped or was killed. At the News Agency they said, “Why did you inform Badri?” I denied it and said, “I didn’t see her at all.” They brought a paper and said, “You sit here and write about every detail, from the time you started cooperating with the organization up to now.” I said, “I don’t remember anything. It’ been five years. I don’t have anything in my mind now. You have my case.” They said, “Sit here and write anything you remember.” I wrote anything I remembered. After reading my statements, they said, “Where is Badri? Tell us when you warned her off. Who was Ja’fari? Why did you visit them?” I said, “Her father was sick. I visited them to help her parents. I treated her mother as my own, I felt comfortable around her. I swear to God that’s the only reason.” All the questions were written. They kept me in that room for two whole weeks. They only sent me to another room once or twice to interrogate and threaten me. For two weeks, I was interrogated two or three times a day by Haj Ibrahim. When they wanted to release me they said, “Under no circumstances can you tell your family, dormitory friends, or your teachers that you were here being interrogated. If you say anything, you’ll face the consequences.”
There was nothing in particular in the room I was in. There was just a blanket. The toilet was outside the room and I didn’t have any problems going to the toilet. I didn’t want to go to the bathroom and they didn’t say anything either. They kept saying, “We will finish the interrogation soon to send you to the prison.” And I said, “I didn’t do anything, why have you kept me here? If my mother figures out, she will have a heart attack and die this time.” They said, “If you cared about your mother, you wouldn’t be communicating with this family.”
During the time I was in custody, I had three important exams that I didn’t take, therefore, I was suspended that semester. One day when I went to the university, the Disciplinary Committee summoned me. When I went there, my Foundations of Mathematics teacher and two Islamic students, one of whom I knew by name, were there. They told me, “Why do you hang out with this person and that person? Did you know they were in jail?” I said, “Yes, I did.” They said, “So why do you hang out with them?” I said, “Because we are in the same classes.” They said, “You are in the same dormitory, too.” I said, “Well, we study in the dormitory and solve our problems.” They said, “There are other students in your class too.” I said, “I can’t be with them, we don’t get along. They are different from me.” Some of the students they named used to be in prison. There was also one student who had entered college in 1976 and was suspended. My Foundations of Mathematics teacher said, “Don’t go out with these people; we’re saying this for your own sake. This is the first warning. Next time you might be expelled from the university.” I was very surprised and said, “Ok, if I’m not supposed to go out with these people, I will not hang out with anybody in the college. I’ll just go to the class and leave without talking to anyone.” They just wanted to frame me, which they did and in September 1993, to my surprise, when I went to register for the next semester, my registration card was not issued and they told me to go to the Student Committee. I went to the Student Committee and they told me to go to Disciplinary Committee. They sent me to different places and finally said, “You are expelled because of being suspended.” I asked them to give me my report cards but they refused. I tried to talk to the president of the university but I couldn’t. Finally, I was able to talk to the vice president of the university who told me that some of the classes I had taken were wrong and, therefore, were eliminated. As a result of the elimination, I was expelled. It was irrational, because they had eliminated the training courses with the highest scores from my report card and had left other lessons with lower scores. They had marked absent from all the classes I was present in. Anyway, they orally told me that I was expelled. I was under pressure emotionally. I was expelled from the university and I couldn’t even tell my family, classmates and roommates about my detention. Some of my classmates, who tried to figure out a way, were told by the vice president of the university that nothing could be done about it. Also, when my father tried to figure out what was going on, someone told him, “You didn’t hear it from me, but the Ministry of Intelligence is behind it. Don’t try to investigate it, nothing can be done.”
In October 1993, one month and a half after I was expelled and after the five years of giving signatures was over, I went to Tehran to investigate it more. During the five years I had to give my signature, I had to inform the News Agency if I wanted to go to Jahrom, where my family’s house was located. Once during Ramadan, I forgot to notify the agency before I went to Jahrom, therefore, a week later when I went to give my signature, they blamed me for not informing them and going to Jahrom. I said, “I didn’t go.” They said, “Yes you did, and you didn’t observe fast, you drank water. This is the last time you will travel like this, or you will be punished.” I said, “What kind of punishment?” They said, “We will show you in practice.”
It was about one month after I had gone to Tehran when my family was called by Sepah and asked where I was and why I left without notifying them. They gave my family a phone number and said, “Give it to her, we want to ask her some questions about her university.” When I called, Haj Ibrahim himself answered the phone. Without saying hello, he said, “You piece of shit, stupid moron! Didn’t I tell you to inform us whenever you leave the city? Wasn’t it enough that you were expelled from college? What else do you want? Do you want something more extreme?” I said, “I’m digging out some stuff about my university. I don’t give my signature anymore, it’s over. There is no reason for me to inform you wherever I go.” He said, “It’s over? We didn’t say that.” I said, “You told me that I have to give my signature for five years, and each week you told me to come again the next week, but the last week you didn’t say anything and I didn’t think that I had to come anymore.” He said, “I had told you many times before, you are one of the war captives, why don’t you understand it?! Even if it is over, you have to ask for our permission and inform us wherever you go as long as you are alive. You have to tell us everything, whether you change your city, your address, or get married.” I said, “Ok then, I’m here I’m digging out some stuff about my university.” He said, “Yeah, right!” I said, “I swear to God, it’s about the university and work. I want to stay here if possible.” He said, “Why there? Why not Shiraz?” I said, “There were no jobs in Shiraz.” He said, “We had offered you a job before, why didn’t you accept it?” I said, “I told you before, I don’t want to be there because my brother used to work in the Telecommunication Company and he thought it was not a good working place and wouldn’t let me work there unless I finished my studies and worked in a different branch as an official employee.” He said, “It hasn’t been a month since you went to Tehran, so if you get a job and do not tell us, you know what’s going to happen.” I said, “Ok, I will notify you,” and hung up the phone. In fact, after being released from prison, if the prisoners wanted a job, they would be sent to the Shiraz Telecommunication Company on the condition that they cooperate and give daily reports.
I stayed in Tehran until 1995 and didn’t have any contact with the News Agency. In the summer of 1995, I went to Shiraz once. The next day, they called my brother’s home and said, “Tell your sister to come to Anvari Three Way, I’m Ms. Hosseini and I want to talk to her. Tell her to be there at 9 am sharp.” I arrived at the News Agency around 9 o’clock. Ms. Hosseini grabbed my arm and pulled me and told me to go in. In the News Agency, I wasn’t interrogated like before, “What is your opinion about Operation Mersad? Do you still want to cooperate with them? Why haven’t you got married yet?” They insisted that I marry and I told them that I hadn’t found anyone I liked yet. They said, “We will introduce you to a few repentant men. They are good people, marry them.” Then they said, “You go home tonight without saying anything to your family, and come back here tomorrow.” They asked me the same things for three or four days, day and night. They took me to the room blindfolded and then told me to lift it. For interrogation, I sat in front of Haj Ibrahim, who had covered his face and only his eyes could be seen. They only threatened me and said, “You have to come here whenever we want you to come. You have to give the information we want at any time. You should tell us if you get married. After you get married you should share the smallest personal and private details we want.”
In October 1995, I married my husband, who used to be in prison too, and in 1996 I returned to Shiraz and lived in my mother-in-law’s house. They didn’t have a phone but our neighbor did and if someone wanted to talk to us, they would call our neighbor. In the winter of 1996, our neighbor said that I had a call. When I went there and answered the phone they said, “Can you come to the News Agency? We want to write a letter to send you to the university.” I said, “After all this time?” They said, “Yes, come here, we want to give you a letter. Who do you live with?” I said, “What do you mean who do I live with?” They said, “Did you get married?” I said, “Yes.” “Do you live at your mother-in-law’s or at your own house?” I said, “Does it make a difference?” They said, “Then don’t tell them anything and come here.” I said, “Ok, I won’t say anything.” I was very happy and dressed up quickly to go there. My mother-in-law was not home and my husband was away on a business trip. I went to the News Agency, and they asked me, “Why didn’t you tell us whom you married? What’s his name? What’s his last name? Where did you meet him? How? Was it because he was a Monafeq (Hypocrite)?” I said, “No, he was not a Monafeq (Hypocrite).” They said, “So he was clear?” I said, “Yes, I guess.” They said, “What do you mean you guess?” I said, “I don’t think he has ever been in prison. My only condition for getting married was that he should be a good person and he should not be smoker,” which is true about him.
That was the only reason why they wanted me to be there and they treated me very harshly because I hadn’t informed them. They cursed, shouted and threatened me but didn’t hit me. They said, “Wasn’t it enough for you to be expelled from college? You want to go to jail? You want us to send you to Adelabad? You want to go back to the Sepah’s detention center? You really want to face those interrogators again and go to the basement to understand what it means when we want you to tell the truth, and that we believe in what we say and act upon it?” I said, “I didn’t want to discuss my personal matters here. I didn’t want to talk about my marriage. Many of my friends probably don’t know that I married. This is personal.” They said, “You are not honest. You have a dark heart. You don’t want to come clean with us. You don’t sound honest; you don’t give us the information we want.” I said, “If I had any affiliation with any organization, I would tell you. But what should I say when I have no affiliations?”
They wouldn’t accept what I said. I didn’t really do anything wrong, but they kept bothering me. They kept me in a room with only one blanket for two weeks, without interrogating me or doing anything. I told them that my mother-in-law doesn’t own a phone and she will be worried. They said, “We will let her know on the phone, don’t worry.”
They released me after two weeks and when I went to go home they said, “Tell them you were at your friend’s.” As soon as I got home and my mother-in-law opened the door, she said, “You had a phone, why didn’t you call us to say that you went to your friend’s house? I was worried about you.” When I was in detention, they gave me breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During those two weeks, I heard a lot of shouts and screams,.They wanted to cause panic. The night I was released, my husband returned from his trip and one or two days later I got cramps and hemorrhaged. I was taken to Sa’di Shirazi Hospital and they told me that I was pregnant but I lost the baby.
In October 1998, they summoned me to the News Agency again by phone. I went there with my one-year old daughter at 10 o’clock and this time they asked me about Mr. Piruz Davani and his published book named The Sound of the Heart (Nostalgic Letters).
Piruz Davani had been missing for a while and nobody knew his whereabouts. In fact, Piruz was related to us and when I was in Tehran, I lived at his sister’s. For about a year, from late 1993 until the time I got back to Shiraz, I was in touch with him in person and went to many different places with him in order to help the families of prisoners and the executed.
Once in 1994, when one of the human right reporters wanted to come to Iran, Piruz asked me to translate a letter that the reporter had written to him into English. The letter was actually a comprehensive report about the severe condition of the prisoners in prison, their desires, and freedom of political prisoners. He had gathered a bunch of signatures and I was one of those who had signed. Sometimes I translated other texts for him, which he wanted to send abroad, into English. They included news bulletins, full reports about Khavaran Cemetery, arrests and missing activists.
The Sound of the Heart (Nostalgic Letters) was a couple of letters written by prisoners that received permission to be published after being censored many times. When I returned to Shiraz, I bought one copy for myself and a few for my friends.
I first heard the news about Piruz being missing from Israel Radio and thought that I heard it wrong. I immediately called one of our mutual friends and asked what had happened. My friend said, “He went out of the house to visit his sister Mohtaram and never returned.” A few days later I called his brother and said, “Have you heard from Piruz yet?” He said, “No, we still don’t know anything.” I asked “Has he been arrested?” He said, “No, nobody knows.” We also went to the Prosecution Office but they said, “We don’t know anything. He hasn’t been arrested; he is not here. One of his friends has called the radio and told them about this.”
Later I realized that it was Mr. Foruhar who had told the radio that Piruz was missing. We didn’t know about Piruz’s whereabouts and we had no idea what had happened to him, whether he was murdered or imprisoned. The Ministry of Intelligence didn’t take responsibility and told his family to look for him in other places and to go to the medical examiners. I was summoned to the agency after my calls to Piruz’s family.
In the News Agency they asked me how I knew Piruz and why I visited them in the past. I explained to them that he is one of our relatives. They threatened me like before, “Nobody can know anything about this; we just want to let you know that we are aware of everything you do. We know that you called Mr. Piruz Davani’s house that day. What have you done for Piruz Davani? What was his book? What is it about? Who did you give the book to and why?” I said, “The book is called The Sound of the Heart and the Ministry of Ershad has given permission to publish it. I have one, and I gave two to my friends as mementos.” They said, “When was the last time you called his family?” I said, “The last time I called his sister’s house, not his, was two weeks ago.” He said, “When was the last time you talked to him?” I said, “A long time ago.”
That day I was released but I went to the News Agency two or three times. After that, they didn’t have anything to do with me until 2011.
My husband was called by the Ministry of Intelligence on February 1st or 2nd, 2011. I don’t know how they got his number, but they had told him to tell me to go to No. 100 on Thursday and call them from home beforehand. They asked my husband our house’s number but he didn’t give it to them as a precaution. When my husband came home that day and gave me their message, I asked, “Where should I call?” My husband looked at his phone and saw that there was no number. They called our house from the Ministry of Intelligence the same day and said, “Can you come to No. 100? Do you know where it is? Sepah St.” I’m sure that our phone had been tapped for a while. It was obvious that a third person was listening to our conversations because sometimes the voices faded and sometimes they echoed. I later asked someone who worked as a technician in the Telecommunication Company about this and he said that my phone conversations are tapped.
My husband and I went to the place that they told us. When we got there, they said, “Are you alone or not?” I said, “I’m here with my husband.” They said, “Has your husband been to prison like you?” I said, “Yes, he has.” They said, “Come in, both of you.” They took us to a room, which had a glass wall in the middle, without blindfolding us. The interrogator gave us a paper through the bottom of the glass and said, “Write down your name and description, the names of your siblings, first degree relatives and your full address and phone number.” The interrogator threatened us and said, “You travelled abroad only once? Why did you?” I said, “We went to Turkey, just for fun. We went to visit my brother-in-law who had come from Germany.” He asked, “Whom did you go with?” I said, “With my brother and sister-in-law.” Then he said, “Look. We know where you live now, we have your phone number, and we can summon you whenever we want.” They also asked my husband a couple of questions and took our pictures and fingerprints. Then they said, “We will let you go for now because you haven’t done anything. We just wanted to let you know that we are still watching you.” I think the interrogation took about one hour and we couldn’t see the interrogator during the interrogation. After that they didn’t call us, until one day they summoned my husband.
My husband participated in protests and rallies. One of his friends was arrested and not released. They summoned my husband, too, but he didn’t go, because we thought his friend might have given them Bijan’s -my husband’s- name under torture. When they called my husband, he was in Ahvaz for work. When they called him, he wanted them to give him some time in order to get to Shiraz. During this time, he called his sister and said, “Tell my family to pack their clothes and go to Tehran quickly, I’ll be there too.” If we stayed, my husband would be arrested for sure. Therefore, we bought train tickets and left Iran on August 21, 2011.
After leaving Iran, they went to my mother-in-law’s and told her in a harsh manner that they had a warrant to arrest my husband. For this reason, we didn’t have any contact with our families for a long time.
It is very painful for me to remember these memories, because that’s how I lost my parents. I feel how evil they are deeply, and I hate this government with all my heart.