Shabnam’s Torture Story in Evin
Shabnam’s torture story happened in Evin Prison a long while back but memories remain fresh of her brother. She was able to escape and takes part in the largest Iranian opposition movement headed in Paris.
You would not at first think this person, Shabnam Maddadzadeh at the Free Iran Gathering 2018 in Paris this week, spent such a large part of her youth in one of the world’s most notorious prisons at the hand of a brutal, murderous dictatorship. However, once she started speaking, her inner-strength was obvious, and it was clear it was this strength that enabled her to survive.
This is what
She was a student activist, she began by explaining she was studying near Tehran, almost a decade before, when she was arrested by the Iranian intelligence services, along with her brother, for ‘actions against national security’.
Shabnam spent three months in solitary confinement, in a very small room in the infamous Ward 209, at the notorious Evin prison. She went into detail about the horrible, unsanitary, unsafe, and degrading conditions at the prison, that have been well documented by other accounts.
Shabnam described how she was blindfolded and brought into a room where she could hear another man being beaten. When the Revolutionary Guards took off her blindfold, she realized it was her brother. She was forced to watch. “They can get what they want,” she described, with the look of horrific remembrance on her face as she talked.
“During this short five years, I saw the true face of the regime. I was forced to watch others being tortured, or executed. However, the worst thing I experienced during this time was the knowledge that I was alone. The guards frequently said, ‘We can do anything we want and no one can hear your voice.’ The government can very easily kill anyone they want. They just say you committed suicide. It is a big lie. It was during this time that I decided, upon my release, that I would become the voice of the oppressed in Iran.”
Shabnam was released in 2015, after serving five years. She could no longer get a job or study in Iran. With help from the outside, she and her brother escaped to Europe. Her family was put under more duress back home.