Narges Mohammadi Video Message: Evin Prison Director Personally Assaulted Me
Following is an excerpted translation by the Center for Human Rights in Iran of comments made by the renowned rights activist and former prisoner of conscience Narges Mohammadi in a February 26, 2021, video message about being assaulted by the director of Evin Prison and other security agents.
Mohammadi, who completed a 5.5-year prison sentence for engaging in peaceful activism in October 2020, was detained and put in solitary confinement in November 2021 and told she would be flogged and have to serve another 30 months for filing a complaint against the abuse.
… On December 24, 2019, I was given a letter in [Evin] Prison from the Office for the Enforcement of Sentences which falsely stated that I had a scheduled meeting with my lawyer, while in fact it was a complete lie. They took me to the office of the prison director [Gholamreza Ziaei] and repeatedly insulted me to the point that I had to leave the room. As I was leaving, I was physically assaulted and pushed hard against the wall, which made me very angry – because I was physically assaulted… I told them I would submit to any ruling by the courts but I will continue my sit-in strike and they must treat me lawfully.
They didn’t listen to me. There were many men inside and outside the room. They had shut the door. I pulled the door handle and they pushed me against the wall and dragged me on the floor and on the steps and my shawl and jacket fell to the ground. The assault was so violent that I got really angry and I began to scream. At one point I refused to go up the stairs and they said ‘grab her hands and feet’ … That scene was so shocking and violent that I stood up to them and wouldn’t let them push me around… I tried to move toward the door many times but they held me back; they were men whose faces I recognized and I know who they are. They pulled and dragged me around, leaving bruises all over my body.
I tried several times to get out the door but they didn’t allow me. I protested against their assault by pounding on the glass door which got smashed and my hand started to bleed. I was losing a lot of blood but the agents grabbed and dragged me from one room to the next and from one building to another. They dragged me on the floor and banged me against walls… I was very angry that day… I’m sure the security cameras inside Evin have caught these scenes. I hope one day they will be shown because it was an extremely offensive and shameless assault.
When a vehicle arrived outside to take me away, I protested and sat on the ground and resisted. I told them I would not go anywhere until they told me what they were going to do with me. Unbelievably, the men grabbed me with their hands and… threw me head first like a sheep toward the back seat of a Peugeot. I was afraid my head was going to smash into the body of the car so I lifted my arms to protect myself and my wristwatch struck the body of the car and broke and shattered on the ground.
I had no shawl, no jacket – I was only wearing a shirt and trousers. I was still resisting and half of my body was outside the car. The men lifted my body and shamelessly forced me inside and sat on my legs. They drove to a building behind Ward 209 (controlled by the Intelligence Ministry). It was a deplorable scene.
When I was inside the car, the prison director ordered the driver to give him two Kent cigarettes and he told me to smoke one. When I refused, he said ‘if you don’t want to smoke, at least light my cigarette.’
I grew up in the Islamic Republic. I am very familiar with these kinds of humiliations, insults and assaults. But what I object to is, first of all, why did you take me out of the ward with lies? Secondly, why did you assault me? Thirdly, I have always said, hand me a judicial order and I will submit to any punishment. But why was I assaulted? Why was I assaulted by men? Why did you humiliate me? … I object to being assaulted, particularly by religious men.
I will refuse to appear in court… I have witnessed women being assaulted in prison by men loyal to the Islamic Republic of Iran… I will not allow you to carry out these assaults against women in the name of the state, in the name of preserving order under the guise of the law…
You want to intimidate us by showing you will stop at nothing to confront women. Therefore I am extremely upset with the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding how I was treated in December (2019). I will not allow the Islamic Republic to act innocent and portray women as the culprits. Regarding this case, I declare that the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Intelligence Ministry and the judiciary’s State Prisons Organization are the ones on the dock and I am the accuser.
As soon as I arrived in Zanjan Prison, I filed a lawsuit (for being assaulted) but it was rejected and yet the lawsuit by the Intelligence Ministry and the judiciary against me was quickly pushed through. I was informed of the charges against me in Zanjan Prison and on December 5, 2020, a month after my release (on October 7, 2020), I was summoned to court.
[After arriving from Evin Prison] the medical examiner in Zanjan Prison took pictures and filmed my entire body and wrote a report that recorded 23 or 24 bruises on my body from my chest to my thighs, caused by the men loyal to the Islamic Republic of Iran. I demand to have that report. I demand to have security camera footage recorded on December 24, 2019, from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at various locations starting from (Evin) Prison director’s office, to the office hallway, to the Office for the Enforcement of Sentences, to Ward 209 and the Evin roadway where I was assaulted by security agents. I will absolutely refuse to appear at this trial, I will not defend myself and I will strongly reject and object to any ruling against me…