Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Victims and Witnesses

"I Was Tired: Enough Talk, It was Time for Action": Witness Testimony of Azam Jangravi

Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
December 15, 2020
Statement

 

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, Azam Jangravi, one of the Girls of Enghelab Street, climbed onto the electric power distribution box at the intersection of Enghelab and Vesal Streets.  She removed her scarf, and expressed her disapproval of the rules and regulations against women that exist in Iran today.  In an interview with Boroumand Center, she talked about her motivation for this action, and about various details of her life.

Biography

“I was born in Tehran, on June 9, 1983.  I have four brothers.  My father builds and sells buildings.  We lived in the south of Tehran during my childhood, and moved to the northern parts when I was an adolescent.  We are a traditional family.  You can say my parents are traditional religious.  “They perform their prayers.  Have you heard some people say ‘we have a reputation of uphold’?  My father attends organized mourning committees for Imam Hossein.  He believes in these things.  He donates money for the poor every year.  In general, my father contributes a lot to charity.  He regularly provides dowries for the needy and helps people whenever he can.”  My mother was born in Tehran, but my father is from Esfahan.  They both have their High School Diploma.  They never bother anybody.”

“In my family, the girls didn’t wear headscarves.  After I got married, I had to wear a head covering.  My husband’s family forced this obligation upon me.  “You have to wear a scarf.”  They also decided what I should wear.  For instance, women should wear blouse and skirt, not blouse and pants.”

“I got my Associate Degree from Tehran University and my Bachelor’s Degree from University of Eyvanakey, in Computer Science.  At university, I was identified as a Talented Student.  Among all of the students at Eyvanakey, I was the top student.”

“For a while, I worked at Kahrizak Charity.  After a while, I found a job at the Center for Women’s’ Studies.”

Jangravi has a daughter.  She suffered a lot during the process of divorcing her husband.  She talks about that period in her life:

“I was not at all a political person.  During my divorce proceedings, I gradually became political.  Little by little, I started demanding my rights.  I started looking for ways to get my rights.  These stresses led me to women’s studies. Otherwise, I was a computer programmer.  I am still studying computer science in (her current residence in Canada).  All the stress that I was under, and all the rights that I should have had, led me to look for ways to demand my rights.”

“For instance, about my divorce.  From the beginning, I had said that this man (my husband) has deserted us. He is a drug addict.  He beats me. The judge said, “Ok, he’s an addict.  You have to prove it. Then you have to prove he has been a resident in the drug rehabilitation camp three times. If he is still an addict after being there three times, then you can divorce him.”

“My lawyer told me this is not going to work.  If you follow this divorce process, it will take many years. You have to demand your alimony. When you officially demand your alimony, he’s not going to be able to pay it. Even that process of demanding alimony and taking him to court will take at least three years.  So, you are going to be held up in the courts for three years, to be able to divorce somebody.  Somebody who has been with many different women.  In that same society, if you (the woman) go out with another man during your separation, what will happen to you?  You will be stoned to death.  Many women spend three to four years getting a divorce.  Women have sexual needs.  They need someone to be by their side.  If you try to talk about these things, they will say you are a prostitute.”

“I was suffering.  I said this man has cheated on me.  He has been seeing a married woman for the past year and a half.  They would tell me this is not a valid reason for divorce.  You have to arrange for three witnesses to see him in bed.  If he had had relations with a girl, that would not have been reason enough for divorce.  It was possible because the woman was married, and three witnesses would catch them in bed.  As a woman, you don’t count.  You have to have three witnesses.  They have to be men.  What does all of this mean?  When you go to court, you realize that we women are not human beings in this society.  Only the men are human.  They are the only ones who have rights. You cannot do anything legally. Unless the man decides to get a divorce.” 

“I went to court three or four times.  I always had a lawyer.  Every time I dealt with the courts, I ended up with negative energy.  I would come back home and cry.  You are under a lot of pressure and you can’t do anything.  You have no rights.  It was all injustice.  I always felt so worthless.  They could literally buy and sell us.  The laws of the mullahs are ridiculous.  The more time you spent in the courts, the more demoralized you became.”

“I was able to get a divorce by legally demanding my alimony.  I lived in my own house.  My husband had deserted me.  My husband owed me 13 million tomans in alimony.  They calculated my alimony for the three to four years that he had been gone.  That’s how much it amounted to.  It took me a year to prepare the legal action for demanding alimony.  When this process is started, the judge rules for divorce.  You have to go to court several times, to ascertain that you have no guardian.  There is nobody to pay your expenses.  Then you can get a divorce.  This process took three years.”

**After four years, Jangravi was able to finalize her divorce and get full custody of her child.

In late December 2018, Vida Movahhed became the first woman who, as a symbolic gesture, took off her veil, tied it to a stick, and held it aloft to protest compulsory hijab.  In February, more and more women repeated this action in different cities in Iran.

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, Jangravi became the third woman protesting compulsory hijab on Enghelab street.  At the intersection of Enghelab and Vesal Streets, she used an electric power distribution box as a protest platform against compulsory hijab by taking off her veil and waving it about. 

“I climbed the platform.  I think it took half an hour to forty-five minutes.  People gathered around me.  One of them, I don’t know if he was a Basiji or security officer.  I don’t know who he was. He pushed me off.”

Several plain clothes people, obviously security officers, gathered around me.  They said, “It’s enough.  Come down.”  I said, “I don’t want to.”  The police came.  They didn’t do anything.  They just told me to come down.  They called for a female officer to come and bring me down.  And then somebody, I don’t know, Basiji, security, of police officer, pulled me down.  The force of the fall broke my thumb.  It was very painful.  I kept crying, “My hand, my hand.”  They immediately put me in a car.  I always had my cell phone with me.  As soon as I got in the car, I put a story on my Instagram.”

 

Arrest

Azam Jangvari was arrested on Thursday, February 15, 2018, after protesting compulsory hijab.

“They took me to a police station nearby, at the intersection of Vesal Shirazi in Tehran.  My hand really started to hurt when I got there.  The police chief came to me and said, “Look, just write down that you are sorry, the whole thing will be forgotten.  Otherwise, the security people will come and take you away, and you will be left to the Recording Angels.  I said, “I am not going to write an apology.”

“One of the police interrogators fixed my hand.  He asked me which hand, and I showed him.  He took my hand in his hand and suddenly twisted it.  Like a doctor.  I screamed.  It got better.”

“Then I asked for my cell phone, so I could let my family know that I had been arrested.  They said you can use the police station phone.  I said I don’t have the numbers memorized.  They gave me the cell phone.  I took a screenshot of my face, and tweeted these famous words:

“I, Azam Jangravi (Azi), have started my political activities, concentrating on Women’s Rights. 

I am a member of the Society of Reformist Women and of the Construction Party.  I hope to bring about reforms.  I am tired……one should do something.  We have had plenty of slogans.  I did this for freedom.  For an end to all laws and regulations against us women.  I accept all consequences of my actions.

This action of mine has no connections to any groups or individuals, either inside or outside of Iran.  I did this to oppose compulsory hijab.”

“Then I called my cousin and told her I was in the police station.  She said, “Why?  Did you have an accident?”  I said, “No.”  She said, “What happened?”  I said, “Do you remember what I told you last week?”  She said, “You’re lying.  You’re pulling my leg.”  At first, she didn’t believe me.  Then I told her I had put a declaration on Instagram, and everybody has seen it.  I asked her to make sure nobody (in the family) finds out.  I didn’t want my brother* to find out.”

“But my brother showed up an hour later.  The same one who is against me.  He came and said, “Write down that you are sorry.”  He even slapped me.  I said I wouldn’t write an apology.  He shouted and yelled at me.  He said, “Write.”  I said, “I’m not going to write.”  I told him to leave the room.  He told me to turn on my phone.  He wanted me to erase my Instagram post.  I said I would not turn on my phone.”

“Fifteen minutes later, two ladies arrived from the security forces.  They were very dignified.  They left me alone.  They didn’t harass me or bother me.  After two, two and a half hours, they took me to the Vozara police station.”

“At Vesal police station, after my arrest, the same man who fixed my hand asked me some preliminary questions.  Family name, where do you work? What is your job?  Very routine questions.  Who are your family members?  What is your address?”

“When we arrived at Vozara police station, an officer came up to me, said a bunch of meaningless stuff, and tried to scare me.  For instance, “What were you thinking?  There are rules in this country.  Did you think nobody is in charge here?  You went up there?”  One of the people there was really nice.  It was dinner time.  I had not had any dinner.  He asked, “Have you had dinner?”  He had a banana.  He gave me his banana and told me to eat it.  I declined.  He said, “Come here.”  I asked what he wanted.  He said, “I wish my wife was like you.  You are very brave.  He started asking questions.  I even asked him for my phone, so I could call my mother.  I called my mom and told her, “Mom, I am going on a trip.  An emergency trip has come up.  My child was at my mom’s house.”

“At Vozara police station, members of the Cyber Police** came to take my cell phone.  They told me to give them the password.  I took my cell phone to put in the password, and quickly deleted my Instagram.  Of course, they had my cell phone, and could do anything they wanted.  But I didn’t give them my password.”

“At Vozara police station, they gave me a pair of slippers and took me to a solitary cell.  The last day I was in solitary, they brought a young girl to my cell.  Her brother had had an argument with some agents, over her hijab.  Since there had been an altercation, the police had a complicated case against them.  They brought this girl to my cell at one in the morning.  The agent said she can’t be with the other prisoners.  The women who are brought to Vozara, are rarely political prisoners.  They are identified as either drug addicts or from houses of ill repute.  I don’t know what kind of place they call a ‘house of ill repute’.”

“That night, before this girl arrived, there was a woman in charge of the prison.  I couldn’t sleep.  There are cameras.  She came to me and said, “Are you worried?”  I said, “Yes, I can’t sleep.  I’m worried about my daughter.”  She said, “I hope everything works out.  Why did you do this to your life?”  I said, “Because I believed in this.  This was not just about hijab.  All of the suffering, all of the things I went through, culminated in my going on that platform.  Then I told her about all the things that had happened to me during my divorce proceedings.”

 

Interrogation

“I was at the Vozara police station four nights.  I was interrogated twice.  One time the interrogation lasted seven hours.”

“One time it lasted three hours.  I think they had asked my family to come and talk to me and convince me to not be so stubborn and say I’m sorry about what I did.  My brother said, “Dad doesn’t know yet.  We kept this news from him.  You know if he finds out, he will have a heart attack.”  My dad does not use the Internet.  They had disconnected their dish.  They had told everybody in the family not to say anything to my parents.  They wanted me to repent in writing.  If I had expressed remorse, they would have quickly released me.”

“The interrogator was a man named Mousavi.  He talked a lot.  Mostly, he asked about Molaverdi***.  He asked about the people I worked with, the details of my job, and my place of work.  He wanted to know exactly what I did.  They wanted to gather information about Molaverdi.  He even told me to write down all of my activities with her, all the years we worked together.  They wanted to know where we had been, what her job had been, and where had I been working for her when she was in charge.  As for my university days, he wanted to know what I was doing at university.  When I was at university, I had created a charity and I raised funds for it.  He asked about everything.  Sometimes I wouldn’t answer the questions.  I would say I’m tired. 

“At first, they asked about White Wednesdays****.  They wanted to know if I followed White Wednesdays, I don’t.  The interrogator believed me.  He asked about Masih (Alinejad).  “Do you see what she’s doing?  Do you agree with what she’s doing?”  I said, “I put a declaration on Instagram.  You’ve seen that I said I am not connected with any organization, domestic or foreign.  I don’t know this lady and I don’t know who she is.  I have heard some things about her, but I don’t follow her.”

“Actually, at that time, I knew about Masih (Alinejad) and I had some information, but I was not one of her followers.  I had a white veil because I was in Women’s Studies.  I followed Vida Movahed’s movement.  We published news about the Girls of Enghelab Street.  I believe Masih is part of this community.  She is not outside of this movement.  The Iranian Women’s Movement has been going on for forty years.  Women have been trying to get rid of this hijab and these restrictions.  In my opinion, everybody is trying to do whatever they can.  Masih is working non-stop, using her movement and her abilities.  I am doing whatever I am able to do.”

“I did not start with White Wednesdays.  I started my activities in Women’s Rights with the Kahrizak Charity Organization (Kahrizak Hospital for the Disabled and the Elderly).  I worked there.  Then I went to the Center for Women’s Studies and Research.  At Women’s Studies, we worked on the harm inflicted on women who were head of their household, like myself.  I concentrated on these cases.  Then I worked on children who had lived with bad parents.  I saw these people and identified with them.  I have a child.  I am the head of my household.  I was affected by the news I saw every day.  I got more news every day.  I became more socially aware every day.  Before that, I was an ordinary housewife.  A girl who’s studying engineering.  Very normal.”

“During the second interrogation, somebody called the interrogator and told him, “She is a good girl.  It’s not important.  You should release her.”  That’s exactly what he was saying.  He was talking in Turkish.  He thought I didn’t understand Turkish.”

 

Public Prosecutor’s Office

At the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the girl who had stayed in my cell was very frightened.  She kept crying.  In the morning, they took us both to the Islamic Guidance Prosecutor, near Motahari Street.  I was with a female agent.  When we first sat down, the young girl and I were handcuffed together.  Our legs were bound together, too.  Then they separated us.  A female agent attached one side of a pair of handcuffs to her own wrist, and the other side to mine.  We sat there for an hour.  Then we went in front of the interrogator.  At the Islamic Guidance Prosecutor’s office, they kept me in handcuffs, in full view of the public.  My legs were still bound together.  When you walked, the restraints would chafe your legs.  The backs of my legs were cut.  We went in front of the interrogator.  He was a young man.  Not too old, 37-38 years old.  40 at the most.  He started with some outlandish observations.  “You work for the Israelis. You work for the Americans in Telegram.”  I said, “What did you find out from my Telegram?  What have I done?  My emails are there.”  He said, “Why did you erase your Instagram?”  I said, “I’m sure you have access to my Instagram, right now.”  Then he started reading the emails that I had received in my Direct Instagram.  I said, “I don’t know these people.  They have sent me messages.  What does that have to do with me?”  He started reading the comments that people had left under my post.  I said, “What does that have to with me? People have made those comments.”

“At the time, I had the Amad News channel on my phone, in Telegram.  He said, “Do you have this channel?  You are collaborating with foreigners.”  Back then, I even had Masih’s channel.  I also had Tavana.  He kept asking about Tavana.  He kept insisting I worked with Americans.  I told him, “Show me a message that I have sent to somebody.”  He said, “No.  You are an American and Israeli influence.”  He was very busy.  At one point, he received a phone call.  I suppose it was Mr. Mansouri.  He said, “Haji Mansouri wants to see you.”  I went upstairs.  I think it was the third floor.  The female agent did not come into the room.  She unlocked the handcuff.  I went in.  It was a big room.  Nobody was there.  I went and sat in a chair by the desk.  I was not blindfolded.”

 

Judge Mansouri

“(Mansousri) came into the room.  He said, “Who told you to sit? This is not your house. Stand up.”  I stood up.  He was a large man.  Very good looking.  His beard was smartly styled, neat and trim.  He was large, very large.  Very rude.  He turned to me and said, “You are a prostitute, you are a street walker.  You jumped up there to find a husband?”  

The first interrogator had told me, “When you are with Mansouri, don’t say anything.  Don’t tell him anything.”  Even the female agent had told me, “Don’t say anything.  Don’t gamble with your future.  If he (Mansouri) gives an order, you’re done for.”  When I went there, I reminded myself that I was not going to say anything.”

“When he said those things to me, I felt very distressed.  I was crying, and I couldn’t control myself.”

“Stupid me, I didn’t know anything.  I didn’t know what horrible things they were going to do to me.  I wasn’t worried.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  He was leafing through my file.  Everything was there.”

“Then he (Mansouri) said, “Do you drive?  I’m not going to let you drive anymore.  I will revoke your driver’s license.”

“I had driven my car to Enghelab Street.  My mistake was that after I was arrested, I told the police I had parked my car by the box that I had climbed onto.  I asked them to bring my car.  I gave them my car keys.  They impounded my car for three months.  Then I had to pay a large fine.  I just remember it was a lot of money.”

(Mansouri) said, “Are you a student?  You seem to be a good student.  You are an honor student!  You are not going to be able to study any more.  You will be barred from going to university.”

“Do you work?  You are going to be fired.  A crazy psycho shouldn’t be working.”

(Mansouri turned to me and said, “You have full custody of your child?  You will not be able to raise your child.  We will take your child away and turn her over to Social Services.  A crazy, psychotic, corrupt person like you is not qualified to raise and nurture a daughter.”

“I was despondent.  He (Mansouri) told them to take me away.  I was supposed to be interrogated again, in a couple of hours.  Mansouri said, “For this interval (two hours), take her to the detention center, downstairs.”  It was in the same Islamic Guidance Prosecutor’s office.  

The detention center has solitary cells.  That’s where they took me.  There were roaches, tiny roaches.  It was filthy dirty.  I went there.  I don’t know what time it was.  Nor do I know how long I stayed there.  After a while, they brought me out.  I went into interrogation again.  They asked the same questions.  They just wanted to bother me.”

“They even sent me to the coroner’s office to prove I was crazy.  They weren’t able to do that.  I asked them why they wanted to take me to the coroner’s office.  What is the reason?  In the van, I got into a fight with one of the two women I told you about.  She was in the van with me and a man who was obviously very disturbed.  I resisted.  I said, “I’m not coming.  Why do you want to take me there?  I don’t have a problem.”  We got to the coroner’s office.  The coroner told them, “She doesn’t have any problems.  What do you want me to certify?”  He didn’t write anything.  That mean agent, the ill-tempered man who was also very young, was not able to get any kind of certificate from the coroner.”

 

Evin Prison

“They sent me back to Vozara police station.  It was almost nighttime, when they took me to Evin prison.  When I got there, I changed my clothes.  On the way, I was blindfolded.  I had no idea where I was going.  I had no idea where I was.  No one would answer my questions.  I entered the prison ward.”

I spent four days at Vozara police station and six days at Evin prison.  All of it in solitary.  I never saw anybody.  In Evin, I was interrogated twice.  I think I was in Section 209A of Evin Prison.  The interrogator was not rude.  He just talked.  What he said made you angry.  He was trying to make me say things I shouldn’t.  He wanted to find out what you had done.  He wanted to wear you out.  Out of their kindness, they sent me to Evin, and I was spared going to Qarchak.  I don’t think this had anything to do with my brother’s job.”

“In general, women who were accompanied by their lawyer were treated better by the interrogators and even by Mansouri himself.  The ones who don’t have a lawyer are treated very poorly.  They wanted to scare me.  They would find the weaknesses in each of our lives.  If you talk to any of the Girls of Enghelab Street, you will see how they found each of our weaknesses.  They would find your weak point and that’s where they would enter your mind.”

“(During my incarceration) I lost three kilograms.  I was afraid to eat.  I would only eat things like potatoes and eggs.  (I was afraid the food would be poisoned.) 

“After ten days, my family put up 50 million tomans bail, and I was released.  After I came out of prison, I was tailed wherever I went.  It was as if they wanted me to know they were following me.  The first week was like this.  Someone was right behind me wherever I went.  Even my brother’s wife noticed.  She said, “Somebody is following us.”  They would show themselves on purpose, so you would know you were being followed. 

“I was very scared.  After I got out of prison, my brother who was against me put a lot of pressure on me.  So much so that I blocked him.  He kept calling me.  I couldn’t tweet or anything.  The rest of my family left me alone."

"Two months after being released, I went to follow up on my Master's degree. They said I couldn't do my defense, so my studies were cut off, uncompleted.”

“After two months, I got a summons from the court.  I got two summonses.  The first summons had to do with the Girls of Enghelab Street events.  I didn’t know what the second one was for.”

“I showed the summons to a lawyer.  He said if you like, I can help you and I can be your lawyer.  But I was afraid.  My brother had scared me.  He wouldn’t let me get a lawyer.  He said political lawyers will make your case more complicated and your crime more severe.  I can’t begin to explain how much pressure my brother put on me.  At the same time, my father found out about all of this before my court appearance, and he spent three days in the hospital.  He had become sick and I didn’t want my parents to suffer.  He (my brother) kept bothering me.  I tried to be my own person and do the right thing and ignore him.  Therefore, I did not get a lawyer.”

 

Trial 

“I responded to the first summons.  On July 1, 2018, I went to Ershad Court on Motahari Street.  I went with one of my brothers.  I was so stressed, I nearly threw up three times.  I felt so bad, my brother pulled the car over."

“They didn’t allow my brother to go upstairs with me.  I went to court by myself.  The judge was truly a puppet.  He did everything on the phone.  They would tell him what to do.  His family name was also Mousavi.  Both my interrogator and my judge were named Mousavi.  All of us (the Girls of Enghelab Street) had the same judge, Mousavi.  He was not ill-mannered.”

“This court was not what you imagine how courts should be.  No.  I entered the judge’s office.  He had an office manager and a secretary.  The secretary had sent me to the judge’s office.  They were very organized. My trial was set for 8 am.  The judge had arrived at 7:45.  My trial was going to be at 8 am.  It took fifteen minutes, and it was over.  He talked with me for a while and said bad things about Nasrin Sotoudeh.  He asked me, “How come Nasrin Sotoudeh isn’t your lawyer?  Well, no wonder.  That’s the kind of person she is. (Maligning Nasrin Sotoudeh).”  I said, “I don’t know.”

“One of my crimes was that I had put that declaration in cyberspace.  The same declaration that I had put on Instagram.  They had printed out all of the comments under my story, and all of these were in my case file.  It was a thick file, full of printouts and things other people had said.”

“The judge showed me these.  He said, “Look.  Leaf through your case file.”  The interrogators who had questioned me, had written about ten pages.  They had written some things with red ink.  It was all about my Instagram.  I didn’t have anything on Instagram.  It was all other people’s comments.  I said these are not my comments.  He said this is your page, and it’s your responsibility.  That’s how they created a file for me.  At 7:55 am, the deputy prosecutor showed up.  He was a young man.  He was representing Mansouri.  I guess Mansouri was the deputy prosecutor of Tehran.  He sat down, talked a bit, and showed me the case file.  Then he said, “Write down your comments.  Why did you do this.”  I wrote down why I had done this.  I wrote about all these things that I’m talking about.  The fact that we women have no rights.  He was not malicious at all.  He spoke very politely.  He just wanted to prove his point with reasoning and proofs.  For instance, when I said we have no rights, he said, “If you want to prove your husband cheated on you, you have to find witnesses.  We cannot accept something without reason.”  I said, “Where can I find proof?”  I said, “My husband is an addict.”  He said, “Prove it.”  I said, “Please make him go and get tested.  How can I prove he’s an addict?”  He said, “You have to prove he is an addict.”  I explained how difficult it had been to gain custody of my daughter, and how I had had to go to court five times for this.  I talked about my divorce.  I said, “All these things motivated me to go up there.  I don’t wear a hijab.  This issue is not that important to me.  But it’s a symbol for us.  Why do you have to regulate all aspects of our lives?”  He said, “We have laws here.  These are the laws of this country.”  I said, “These laws are based on injustice.”  The trial was over in fifteen minutes.  Then they told me to come back that afternoon and get my verdict.  This verdict had already been issued.”

“An hour later, at 9 am, I had another trial, for my divorce.  There were two courts.  This was the Appeal Court on Heravi Street.  I saw my ex-husband there.  I felt terrible.  With all the stress I had, I came face to face with him.  I was very upset.  At this trial, my brother had come with me.  The Judge said, “Since your case file is incomplete, its missing this (paper) and that one, your divorce decree will be revoked.”  The judge was a cleric.  I don’t remember his last name.  His office manager was a nasty bastard.  I told the judge, “Sir, I have a fiancée.  I have been separated from this man for a year and a half.  I got a divorce.  The divorce pronouncement was read.  How can you revoke that?  I was able to get a divorce by legally demanding my back alimony.  All of these documents are in the case file.  It’s been recorded in the system.”  The judge said, “The documentation for demanding your alimony is not in the case file.”  I told the judge very clearly that if my divorce was revoked, I would kill myself.  He said, “Ok my child, go find your case file.”  I said, “How can I do that?  The file might be lost, but this information has probably been recorded in the computer.  Can’t you get a printout from the computer? “  He said it’s not there.  I said it’s impossible.  I had already received the decree.”

“I think they had gone to my ex-husband, and he had cooperated with them.  This hurt me more than anything.  I called the lawyer who had put together that file.  After a month of searching for documents from that file, he said the papers had been in the file all along.  I took the decrees to the judge.  He said this is not right.  The decree was stamped with the seal of the Judiciary, and they couldn’t find it in the computer.  They just wanted to harass me.”

 

Verdict

“The verdict for the trial of the Girls of Enghelab Street was issued in the afternoon of the day of the trial.  They had given me three years in prison, and they had affixed this verdict to my divorce file.  In the ruling about my revoked divorce, it said the payment of alimony after divorce had been suspended and that my ex-husband intended to pay the alimony.  What was I going to do with that 13 million anyway?  My daughter’s school cost me 15 million a year.  He had not paid anything towards the expenses of the child.  They harassed me.  In this trial, they took away my child’s custody.  They did this in the trial having to do with divorce.  This was not about custody.  They did not believe a number of rulings that had been given in my favor.”

“My lawyer had told me that it was not possible for things to be erased from the computer. They had deleted everything from the computer.  My lawyer and I both have copies of these rulings.”

“We objected to this ruling, and it was sent to the Supreme Court.  There is still no news of the appeal.  They cannot legally revoke the divorce.  But they did it back then.”

“Two days before the Girls of Enghelab Street ruling and the divorce return order, I had a nervous breakdown and I fainted.  This breakdown caused me to forget many things.  My father said you have to leave Iran.  My lawyer also advised me to leave Iran.  He said they want to harass you.  There is one thing I don’t understand.  Forget about the alimony issue.  What did the Girls of Enghelab ruling have to do with my divorce?”

 

Leaving Iran 

“In early August of 2018, I got a summons, saying I had ten days to deliver my child to her father.  I knew all about her father.  He was irresponsible.  He had not spent a day raising his child.  My child did not even know her father.  I knew I would die without my child.  This man is an addict, he is violent.  One time he broke my nose.  I knew what kind of person he was.  My ex-husband was financially well to do.  I still don’t understand why he cooperated with them.  I never talked to him.  And he never talked to me.  I don’t think they had threatened him.  One day he called and said I am in such and such police station.  Bring the child here and give her to me.”

“The ten-day period was not over yet.  On the ninth day, I left Iran.  I was very stressed.  My child understood what was going on.  We did our best to shield her.  Waiting at the border was the worst.  It’s one of her nightmares.  To this day, if I tell her to talk about the border, she starts to cry, and she says she doesn’t want to talk about it.”

“We were at the border for a week.  It was a frightful week.  Very stressful.  You can’t trust smugglers.  We were so frightened.  We managed to leave the country.”

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*: Ali Jangravi, Director of Public Relations and International Affairs of Tehran Governorship, is an ally of the government 

**:  The Production and Data Exchange Police, or Iranian Cyber Police

***:  Shahindokht Molaverdi, Special Assistant to the Iranian President of the time, was a reformist activist and a member of the Trustees of the Center for Women’s Studies and Research.  She has written several books about Women’s rights and Violence Against Women.

****:  White Wednesdays is a social campaign.  Its goal is to oppose compulsory hijab in the Islamic Republic.  This campaign was started by Masih Alinejad, in 2017.  Women and girls protest the law of compulsory hijab, by removing their veils in public places in Iran.