The detention and execution of Shirin Alam Holi
Shirin Alam Holi, born in 1981 in a small village near Maku, was executed in Evin Prison on May 9th 2010 after passing one year and nine months in prison. She was charged with cooperating with Pajak (the Iranian branch of PKK) on Nov. 29th 2009 and sentenced to death. Her lawyer and family had no information about her execution.
Shirin was arrested in June 2008 in Tehran by Sepah Pasdaran and transferred to Evin Prison after 21 days interrogation and torture in an unknown place. She described what happened to her completely in a letter which she gave to her family. In this letter she related many physical as well as mental pressures she endured during the interrogation and wrote to her interrogators that what they did to her has become part of her nightmares and caused many disorders both physically and mentally. Shirin Alam Holi had written, in her last letter, that she even couldn’t speak Farsi fluently when she was taken to the court.
Now she has been executed along with 4 other political prisoners while the Supreme Court has notified no specific decree in order to confirm her execution to her lawyers and family and executed her without informing them, which is totally against the Executive Principal of the Prisons.
She had her last contact with her family on Friday 7th of May and said nothing about notifying the decree from the Supreme Court. Her family had described her physical and mental situation as appropriate; however they said that she has been under pressure to do some TV interviews and confession.
Shirin Alam Holi is one of the victims of the violence in Iran’s judicial system who has been treated unfairly from the beginning of her arrest and ultimately executed without any advance notification and against all the legitimate measurements.
I was arrested in April 2008 in Tehran. The arrest was made by uniformed and plain clothed members of Sepah who started beating me as soon as we arrived at their headquarters without even asking one question. In total I spent twenty five days at Sepah. I was on hunger strike for twenty two of those days during which time I endured all forms of physical and psychological torture. My interrogators were men and I was tied to the bed with handcuffs. They would hit and kick my face and head, my body and the soles of my feet and use electric batons and cables in their beatings. At the time I didn’t even speak or understand Farsi properly. When their questions were left unanswered they would hit me until I pass out. They would stop as soon as they would hear the call for prayers and would give me time until their return for as they said to come to my senses only to start their beatings as soon as they returned – again beatings, passing out, iced water …
When they realised I was insistent on my hunger strike, they tried to break it by inserting tubes through my nose to my stomach and intravenous feeding; they tried to break my [hunger] strike by force. I would resist and pull out the tubes which resulted in bleeding and a great deal of pain and now after two years I’m still suffering the consequences and am in pain.
One day while interrogating me they kicked me so hard in the stomach that it resulted in immediate haemorrhaging. Another day, one of the interrogators came to me – the only one whose face I saw, I was blindfolded all other times – and asked irrelevant questions. When he heard no reply he slapped me and took out his pistol from his belt and put it to my head, “You will answer the questions I ask of you. I already know you are a member of PJAK, that you are a terrorist. See girl, talking or not talking makes no difference. We’re happy to have a member of PJAK in our captivity”.
On one of the occasions that the doctor was brought to see to my injuries I was only half conscious because of all the beatings. The doctor asked my interrogator to transfer me to the hospital. The interrogator asked, “why should she be treated in hospital, can’t she be treated here?” The doctor said, “I don’t mean for treatment. In hospital I will do something for you to make her sing like a canary.” The next day they took me to hospital in handcuffs and blindfold. The doctor put me on a bed and injected me. I lost my will and answered everything they asked in the manner they wanted and they filmed the whole thing. When I came to I asked them where I was and realised I was still on a hospital bed and then they transferred me back to my cell.
But it was as if this was not enough for my interrogators and they wanted me to suffer more. They kept me standing up on my injured feet until they would swell completely and then they would give me ice. From night till morning I would hear screams, moans, people crying out loud and these voices upset me and me nervous. Later, I realised these were recordings played to make me suffer. Or for hours on end cold water would be dripped slowly on my head and they would return me to the cell at night.
One day I was sitting blindfold and was being interrogated. The interrogator put out his cigarette on my hand; or one day he pressed and stood on my toes for so long that my nails turned black and fell off; or they would make me stand all day in the interrogation room without asking me any questions while they filled in crossword puzzles. In short they did everything possible.
When they returned me from hospital they decided I should be transferred to 209. But because of my physical condition and that I couldn’t even walk 209 refused to accept me. They kept me for a whole day in that condition by the door of 209 until I was transferred to the clinic.
What else? I couldn’t tell night from day anymore. I don’t know how many days I was kept at Evin Clinic until my wounds were a little improved and was transferred to 209 and interrogations started. The interrogators at 209 had their own methods and techniques – what they called hot and cold policy. First of all, the brutal interrogator would come in. He would intimidate me threaten and torture me. he would tell me that he cared for no law and that he would do what he wanted with me and … then the kind interrogator would come in and ask him to stop treating me in this way. He would offer me a cigarette and then the questions would be repeated and the futile cycle would start all over again.
While I was at 209 especially at the beginning when I was interrogated, when I wasn’t well or had a nose bleed they would inject me with a pain killer and keep me in the cell. I would sleep the whole day. They wouldn’t take me out of the cell or take me to the clinic…
Shirin Alam Hoolo
Nesvan Wing, Evin
28/10/88 (18 January 2010)
About the Author
Shirin Alam Holi was is a twenty eight year old Kurdish woman who was executed in Iran for her alleged support for ‘PJAK’, a militant opposition group.