Warning: This text contains a passage dealing with torture and sexual assault, which may shock some readers.
Despite everything she’s been through and the fear that still plagues her, Parmida speaks with a confident tone. I feel sorry for my country, she says, explaining why she dared to take to the streets like thousands of other Iranians after the suspicious death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by vice squads for wearing the Islamic headscarf go wrong.
Parmida demonstrated several times without a headscarf and with dyed hair. In Ahwaz, she even inherited the nickname of the red-haired protester.
Parmida is rebuilding her life away from Iran.
In general, I’m not afraid of anything […] From the beginning I told myself that I don’t face people. I face beings without humanity. You can do anything with me.
The authorities notice her and she is arrested in mid-October. They suspected me of being a very politically active person. They took me back to the detention center of the Ministry of Information and Security.
She is eventually imprisoned for 14 days. His face darkens, his voice falters, emotions rise. They stripped me every day before the interrogation. I was blindfolded, my hands and feet tied. You interrogated me for hours […] When I was asked to write my confession, I didn’t have anything to write, so they tore up the paper and put it in my mouth.
She says she was sexually touched and raped during her detention. A man tried to kiss me but I spat at him. He hit my head on the ground several times and hit me. During the rape I started bleeding from the anus, it didn’t stop it. Then he left, leaving me like this. A woman entered the room, dressed me, and I was taken back to solitary confinement.
One case among thousands
According to the UN, more than 14,000 people have been arrested in Iran in connection with the protests in four months. International organizations speak of 18,000 prisoners. Allegations of ill-treatment in prison are mounting, including the torture and rape of women, but also of men. Some young demonstrators were even hanged; Pictures circulated.
Parmida says she was mistreated until her last day in detention: my hands and feet were tied. Someone pushed me and I fell hard. My head hit the ground and I thought I had a split skull. I said to myself: “Parmida, this is the end”.
Ever since she fled Iran, Parmida has been looking for a welcoming country.
In late October, she was instead released on bail. But two months later, her lawyer tells her that her trial took place without her and that she had just been sentenced to six years in prison. Parmida packs her bags, rushes to the airport and leaves everything behind.
“I feel guilty because I am alive and many other young people have been killed and executed. I owe them one. »
— A quote from Parmida Mehdipr
She tells her story to raise awareness of the ongoing oppression in her country. Also to support the movement of those who, like her, have the courage to go and denounce. The future of this movement is very bright in my opinion. And soon better days will come for this rich and impressive country.
She, like 99% of those around her, believes that the existing authoritarian regime will lose power.
In the meantime, Parmida is looking for a country that can host her long-term. She hopes to return to Iran one day, but today she is alone with her memories and the mission she gave herself.