A PRISONER who spent nine months in one of the world’s most horrifying prisons has revealed the barbaric horrors she witnessed – from torture to executions.
Marziyeh Amirizadeh has fearlessly stepped forward to lift the lid on the horrific conditions and staggering in Iran’s despicable Evin Prison.
She was arrested and sent to the jail – known as the “The Torture House” – simply for the ‘crime’ of being a Christian in 2009.
The desolate compound outside Tehran is reserved for political prisoners – and has a reputation as one of the worst lockups on Earth.
Marzi’s experience was horrifying – being first thrown in an airless, lightless underground dungeon before being transferred to Evin.
She witnessed truly horrific atrocities, from seeing people having their feet flayed of flesh to her friend witnessing dead bodies hung from the ceiling like in a slaughterhouse.
And she is bravely speaking out as protests continue to rage over the death of Mahsa Amini – who was killed by the Iranian regime’s so-called “morality police”.
It is one of the most sustained challenges to the hardline regime in decades – and has seen nearly 600 people killed.
Marzi and her friend Maryam Rostampour were arrested for “apostasy” for their Christianity in Iran and sentenced to death.
Marzi recalled: “The judge said to me: “I will make sure you get executed. He pushed our cases to execution because of the apostasy.”
Marzi and Maryam were sent to Vozara Detention Centre – the same holding centre used by so-called morality police that beat Masha Amini to death in September 2022.
Marzi said: “It’s an underground dungeon, nobody can see it. You can’t breathe. There’s no air, no light. They throw food at you.
“We slept on a cold concrete floor and kept warm with urine-soaked blankets. We were thrown in with homeless women, prostitutes, anyone on the streets. We weren’t criminals but we were in the same situation as everyone else.”
The brutal treatment at the centre would only last for 2-3 days for most women taken there, but Marzi and Maryam were kept in the horrible conditions for two weeks as punishment for the “severity of their crimes”.
While at Vozara, the guards would force the female inmates to strip naked and would conduct body searches regularly, Marzi said.
But the true torture began when she was transferred to the infamous Evin Prison.
The conditions in the prison have been criticised for decades[/caption]
The prison is on the outskirts of Iran capital, Tehran[/caption]
Marzi recalled one instance where the prisoners were desperate to get help.
She said: “The UN sent people to research Iranian prisons. There was one nice ward, with a few prisoners there. They told us, ‘A group of western people are coming for a survey’.
“They locked the doors to the other wards with us inside. We shouted to make noise for the inspectors but nobody heard our voices.”
Marzi was witness to torture, execution, rape, beatings, and countless women’s rights violations conducted by the male guards at the prison.
She and Maryam were lucky to avoid rape and severe beatings, as their legal case had gained international outrage.
She continued: “One day, male guards came to search women’s cells and began beating them.
“We could hear the prisoners start to sob. They were beaten so badly when we saw them in the courtyard later.
“They used male guards to attack female prisoners, which is actually against Sharia law. Everyone was so scared.
The next night we would hear the Adhan played at midnight, and we knew they were being executed.
The psychological torture was intense for Maryam and Marzi, with Marzi’s own cellmate executed in front of her.
Like current prisoners in Iran, in 2009, inmates wouldn’t be told when they were being sent to their deaths.
Marzi said the prisoners would be taken into solitary confinement for a few days before their executions.
She said: “The next night we would hear the Adhan (Muslim call to prayer) played at midnight, and we knew they were being executed.”
Marzi was transferred to Ward 2 at one point in her incarceration, which is where most of the murderers would be.
She grew close to her cellmate while in the second ward – the ten days they spent together in the cramped cell allowed the two women to bond.
Marzi was audibly choked up during our interview: “She was sent to execution after ten days. I feel that was intentional.
“They let me build a friendship with her and then killed her.”
Another one of Marzi’s friends in Evin was a Kurdish girl, like Mahsa Amini, who was beaten and whipped so badly that the flesh on her feet was flayed and peeling off on the bottom.
Section 209 of Evin Prison – the interrogation room – was hell on earth, and inmates would be blindfolded on a metal chair where they were tortured and raped for hours on end, Marzi said.
Another woman Marzi befriended was offered a job at a “clinic” within the prison, but would come back crying each evening after spending long hours working.
Marzi recounted: “We didn’t know why she was crying. We found out the revolutionary guards and other high ranking officials came and used her as a sex slave.
“When she realised this is what the job was, she said no, and they threatened to kill her.”
She called her time at Evin a period of mental torture: “Everyday we heard the other prisoners crying, shouting and begging. We heard those voices all around us. It was hard to move.”
“One of my friends was blindfolded and taken to a room under the section 209 interrogation room. She came back and we could see the fear in her face. She was shaking.
“They asked her to walk when she entered the room under section 209, and she was hitting something as she walked. She felt around and discovered they were the bodies of other dead prisoners hanging from the ceiling.”
Thousands have been arrested since the protests erupted in September[/caption]
The current situation in her native Iran has been a harsh reminder of what Marzi experienced after her 2009 arrest and period spent in Evin.
Marzi believes the true number of executions occuring in light of recent protests is much higher than the regime has revealed.
“Some of these prisoners have nobody, so it won’t be noticed if they disappear. They are evil, using the most lethal weapons they have against protestors.
“In some instances they may release people from prison who then die mysteriously after their release.”
This revolution in Iran is different, Marzi said, but like others in the past, it started with women.
She said: “For more than 40 years we have been fighting with difficulty. From childhood, we have been fighting.
“One day, Iranian women will overthrow this regime. Women have suffered, and we can see this time women are fighting shoulder to shoulder with men.
“An awakening is happening, and they can’t deter people. What’s happening now is the calm before the storm. The people will collapse this regime.”
One day, Iranian women will overthrow this regime.
People need to understand what’s happening in these prisons and to these innocent detained protestors, Marzi implores.
516 protestors have been killed since the movement began in September of this year, according to research from the UK Parliament.
The number of those arrested has almost surpassed 20,000, and is expected to keep climbing as the momentum of protests across the country continues to grow in size and power.
Marzi finished our interview with a simple statement for western governments: “We’ve sacrificed a lot. Don’t betray us this time.”