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Women

"If You Make a Move I’ll Shoot You," Iranian Blogger Tortured in Detention

December 4, 2023
Maryam Dehkordi
3 min read
Donya Hosseini, a 35-year-old blogger from the southern Iranian province of Khuzestan who lives in Tehran, was released from Evin prison on November 25 after spending approximately four months in detention
Donya Hosseini, a 35-year-old blogger from the southern Iranian province of Khuzestan who lives in Tehran, was released from Evin prison on November 25 after spending approximately four months in detention
Hosseini, who was active on Instagram under the pseudonym Donya Azad, was arrested on August 12 and had her electronic devices confiscated
Hosseini, who was active on Instagram under the pseudonym Donya Azad, was arrested on August 12 and had her electronic devices confiscated

Donya Hosseini, a 35-year-old blogger from the southern Iranian province of Khuzestan who lives in Tehran, was released from Evin prison on November 25 after spending approximately four months in detention.

Hosseini, who was active on Instagram under the pseudonym Donya Azad, was arrested on August 12 and had her electronic devices confiscated.

She was first arrested during nationwide protests last year for her social media activism. The monthslong demonstrations were sparked by the September 2022 death in police custody of Mahsa Amini.

Since her release, Hosseini has attended two court sessions to address the charges against her. According to an informed source, the blogger faces legal proceedings in both the Revolutionary Court and the General and Criminal Court. 

According to the indictment issued by the Revolutionary Court, Hosseini is accused of "inciting people to engage in war and violence against each other," "encouraging public participation in riots and commemorations of Mahsa Amini's death with the intent to disrupt the country's security," and "engaging in propagandistic activities against the Islamic Republic system and society."

She is still awaiting the verdicts in both cases.

"If You Make a Move I’ll Shoot You Three Times"

A source with knowledge of the matter told IranWire that Hosseini had a car accident in August. 

She was not at fault in the accident, but she was not wearing a mandatory head covering. 

On the same day, she received a text message stating that she would be contacted regarding a violation of hijab rules.

The following day, Hosseini and her fiancé went to the address provided by the insurance company to fill up paperwork, a parking lot at the intersection of Pirouzi Street and Basij Highway in Tehran. 

There, an officer placed a gun on her fiancé's head and shouted that the car's license plate was stolen. Hosseini was then handcuffed. 

"The arresting officers were derogatory and started humiliating both Donya and her fiancé," the source said. 

According to the source, the officers could not provide a valid arrest warrant.

One of the agents was the same female officer who arrested her at their home last year. 

As Hosseini continuously questioned the officers about the fabricated charge, one of them sat beside her, placed his gun on the back of her head, and issued a chilling threat: "If you make a move I’ll shoot you three times. We will bury your body right here, and nothing will happen. So be silent."

Hosseini endured solitary confinement for two days before going through one month of interrogation in a detention center of the Intelligence Department. 

After that, she was transferred to the women's ward of Evin prison, where she underwent further questioning.

“She Lost Around 15 Kilograms”

"The interrogations started almost immediately," the source said. "She faced six interrogators who spoke in an abrasive and offensive manner." 

The interrogators insulted her family members and fiancé, and accused her of immodesty. 

On the second day of interrogation, they claimed that her fiancé had left and was no longer responding to her family's calls.

The intense mental and emotional pressure she endured during the prolonged interrogations, coupled with a lack of access to proper healthcare, exacerbated Hosseini's health issues. 

"The interrogations were grueling, lasting up to 12 hours daily, and the psychological pressure was so severe that she lost around 15 kilograms in the first month of her detention," the source said. 

Denying access to medicine and treatment is a tactic routinely used by the authorities to torture political prisoners. 

Over the past weeks, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi was repeatedly denied hospital visits by the judiciary and Evin prison’s authorities due to her refusal to wear a mandatory hijab.

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