“A Woman without a Name”

 

 

 

In the name of God.

 

 

Warning: This film is not recommended for viewers under the age of 14.

 

Comments made by people interviewed in this documentary are exclusively their own views and are not necessarily the truth behind their cases.

 

 

“A Woman without a Name”

Directed by Farzad Khoshdast

 

 

 

Women’s Prison, Shahre-Rey, Qarchak, Tehran.

Summer 2015

 

 

Woman crying in the background:

I swear I didn’t say that…the whole thing was this man’s job.

I swear I’m innocent. He’s the one who deceived me.

He tempted me with drugs. Believe me, I didn’t do anything wrong.

I swear, this is not what I meant to happen.

Please have mercy on me, for God’s sake, please.

For God’s sake, I never wanted this to happen to him.

Please, have mercy on my young age.

For God’s sake, please.

Please Mohammad, pardon me and set me free.

I’m so sorry. For God’s sake.

Sir, please do something for me.  

Have mercy on me, I’m still too young, please.

I swear I didn’t do that…

I don’t want to waste my youth here.

My life will be devastated in this place. Oh my Lord!

 

 

Wall writing: (From left: More wounded than ever…O’ freedom, I’ll reach you…The lonely wanderer…The prisoner’s world is but a wall…)

 

 

5:31:

Door No.1:

I married a man, about whom I had no idea.

I married him only to escape my stepfather.

So, I married him and actually risked everything.

He took me with him to build me a life.

But it was too hard for me to live with an addicted husband.

At the same time, I had no way out to safety.

I was sick and tired of him. A couple of times, I decided to leave him.

But I had nowhere to go, couldn’t go to my family’s.

Still, they agreed to shelter me. My mom agreed to let me in for a while.

However, I was too scared, because my stepfather was there.

My husband was worried, fearing that I may leave him alone.

So he decided to drag me into drugs and make me an addict like him.

 

7-38:

My dependence on drugs rapidly increased.

I even started to do shots. And so did my husband.

After a few years, I gave birth to my daughter.

One day, I told him that I wanted get separated.

I asked him for the custody of the kid and to let me go.

He said he would agree with that only in exchange for a condition:

That I must do him a favor.

He gave me a knife, a gun and other things, telling me what I could do using them.

But I was scared of all those weapons.

Then he gave me an acid container, saying you could use it only to scare the victim.

So, I thought that only threating is much safer than actually using those weapons.

And on that very day, I was pretty stoned, having taken a huge dose of meth and cocaine. 

That gave me this fake sense of bravery, that I was able to do everything. That I could subdue 10 men, let alone only one.

So, I blocked the victim’s way. But actually he picked me up.

We had a little chat in the car.

Then he said let’s go somewhere and talk and stuff.

I accepted that but added that since I’m an addict, I need to buy some meth.

I take meth so I need to buy some, I told him.

So, he was fine with that.

We went to this neighborhood called Khoshnam in Marlik, outside Karaj. So, I directed him over there.

Then I pretended to be talking on the phone, apparently speaking with a dealer like this “come on, why are you late? I’m waiting for the drug?”

But then the guy realized I was lying.

As soon as he wanted to start the car to flee,

I placed the knife on his neck.

When he turned back to remove the knife,

I told him I just want your car and the jewelry in it.

Give me the vehicle and I’ll lift the jewelry.

Next, when he turned back, I went clumsy and dropped the knife.

So, he held my hand and threatened to take me to the police,

saying I was a thief and told me stuff.

I was scared to my bones.

Now, the acid was in a plastic bag which I’d kept in a 4-liter container this size.

So, when he started the car to move me to the police station,

I opened the container and warned him that I was going to pour it on him.

I said just let me go, I don’t want anything. I don’t know what happened.

I just sprayed the acid on him from the back seat.

I suddenly realized that the acid totally razed his seat to the bottom and it fell apart!

The guy was burning nonstop.

While burning, he got hold of my arms with his hands and that left some burns on me too.

I kept telling him, please, I’m sorry, you’re dying, let me take you to a hospital.

After he fell unconscious, I started searching in the dash compartment,

under the seats and everywhere until I found a box this size,

where the jewelry was kept.

So, I grabbed it, immediately closed the acid container

and though I was injured too, started running toward the road.

The box contained 3 kilos of gold.

When I opened it, I saw everything, gold chains, rings, standard coins and stuff.

So, I buried and hid the jewelry.

But I never found them when I went back there later.  

 

11-44:

We used to live in Karaj.

The place we lived in was like a village.

My father was a farmer and we lived in his garden.

We always dreamed of moving to Tehran.

We did later, but after moving to Tehran, our life fell apart.

I loved it when my dad and mom they were together.

 

“This woman committed the crime at the age of 19.

She’s now spent 7.5 years of her term.

The man who fell victim to her acid attack has already undertaken 12 surgeries.

While still suffering from the consequences of the attack, he left Iran. There’s no information on his fate and whereabouts now.”

    

My father started not to get along with my mother any mother.

So, my mom chose not to live with him in return.

Well, whether it was an excuse or not, I don’t know.

Whether it was my father’s mistreatment toward her,

or it was just she didn’t like to stay with him anymore, I don’t know.

Anyway, they got divorced.

And their divorce was a tremendous blow to me and my younger sister.

There were things which I thought would make us happy if we gain them.

We did gain them later, but I realized that they never brought us real happiness.

Actually, they worsened our lives.

My stepfather used to beat me up and mistreat me.

He would forcefully cut my hair.

So that I’d never like to go out of home.

And my mother never listed to me, she never believed me.

Therefore, I had to make a blind choice in my marriage.

I married someone I had no idea about.

I didn’t even know his age, nor where he was from.

I knew absolutely nothing about him.

 

14-46:

This place is called the triangular clinic, and this section is used for awareness purposes,

where we are given information about different disease such as HIV and hepatitis.

Issues like prevention and treatment, I mean what illnesses are curable and which are not.

I miss my family and I want to go back to them, to my life, to my little kid.

She’s now held at the state nursery, while I’m away from her.

I’ve fallen sick here, a disease which has no cure.

So, for the little rest of my life,

whether it’s a couple of years or just a couple of days,

no matter how short, I just want to spend it with my daughter.

You know diseases like hepatitis and AIDS are serious ones.

In the short remaining period of my life,

I want to stand on kid’s side.

I’m ready to work like a servant in his home (the acid attack victim’s)

in the rest of my life.

And work like a maid for his wife and kids.

All I just want in exchange is being able to be with my kid.

Sometimes when they bring my daughter to visit me here,

all she wants is one hour to sit down and have food with me.

 

16-27:

I was stuck at the hands of a man who had victimized his wife and kid

only to serve his own dirty purposes.

I could have chosen not to do that for him.

But I did it because I thought that way I would save myself from him,

and would have the chance to live peacefully with my daughter and away from him.

 

17-12

Interviewer:

-Excuse me ma’am, can we show your face in the video?

 

(((Door No.2)))

 

Woman: Oh, it’s ok. My plaintiff has sent me a message asking me to talk to you.

-So, I can ask my cameraman to include your face in the shot, right?

Oh, fine by me. 

-Ok sir, you can film her so that the viewers can see her face.

-First of all I want to know why you ended up here.

Murder.

-Murder?

Yes.

-Can you possibly tell me who you killed?

No mother ever wants to lose her kids.

My neighbor duped me into (drugs).

He said it was a great thing (painkiller).

And since I was suffering from pregnancy pains for my first baby, (I was tempted).

He said the drugs would tranquilize you, it’s a sedative that kills your pain.

Up until then, I had no idea what a pipe and meth were like.

I kept wondering what they were.

One night my baby never stopped crying.

I decided to keep him calm. He was actually calm, but I just wanted to make him sleep.

But I’d taken a big dose of drugs.

My husband wasn’t aware about that.

He had no idea that I was an addict.

I was trying to rock my baby into sleeping.

I covered his face with a blanket.

And then I pressed his face with the pillow.

 

19-07:

When she gave birth to me, my mother abandoned me outside a hospital.

So, (in my whole childhood), there was no one to help me,

no one I could share my pains with,

no one I could cry with and let the pain out.

There was no one whose shoulders could bear my head,

no one to hug me and relieve my suffering.

-So?

Then, I was sick and tired of my father, and his abuses

and his dirty proposals to me, that had worn me out.

I even found out much later that my father was an addict.

I didn’t have any idea. I found out quite later.

He was using me to earn money…it’s so tough…

I really feel pity for having such a father.

I don’t even want to see him.

How could a father abuse his daughter?

Such a father is a worthless creature.

I got sick and tired of the filthy life he’d made for me.

He would invite over his friends (to sleep with me).

He said he had a pile of debts. And that if he failed to pay them off, he’d face prison.

I didn’t know that he actually used the money to buy drugs.

So, I made up my mind and ran away from him.

I was sick and tired of that life.

I was exhausted with the situation he’d created for me.

So, I was mostly wandering on roads, (from one town to another). 

Sometimes, I’d fall sleep on the roads, on the buses.

Once, there was this guy, who I hoped would help me out.

But he left me alone too.

I was on a bus to Tehran later, as I just wanted to go from one place to another.

Then a gentleman came toward me, saying “excuse me lady, can I talk to you?”

I was extremely sacred. My eyes were filled with fear.

He saved me and stood up for me,

he (my husband) even stood against his brother and sister to defend me.

He was such a great man!

When I lost my older son, I was pregnant with my second son, like 4 or 5 months into pregnancy.

We came moved to Tehran and I found my father’s place.

I went to him…He only kept lying that he liked me.

I mean from the bottom of his heart he never did.    

He claimed that he liked my husband and that he considered him as his own son.

After 5 years living away from my father,

I expected him to have changed and treat me like real fathers.

I expected him to have realized his mistakes.

 

I’m really regretting what I did.

My husband was upset with me because he complained that

I should have told him all the truth about my dad flat out.

He says he was so kind and honest to me…

When I told him my story and got it off my chest,

he grabbed a knife and wanted to take my revenge on my father.

I told my father that hey dad, you are on the wrong track.

He denied that. But I kept telling him just that.

I said you are wrong about my husband.

He was wondering why, and I said I know my husband quite well.

Then he said but your husband returns home after midnight.

And I said, ok father, just stop it.

That night he kept arguing with me and drove me crazy,

so I overreacted and threw my little loved one in anger.

-Where did you throw him? Don’t you want to answer?

 

I suddenly lost my temper.

 

Writing:

“This woman was jailed after killing her young son. She’s been in prison for 2.5 years now. Ever since she was incarcerated, she hasn’t heard from her father. And her husband refuses to come for visitations.”  

 

24-59:

I really had no fault.

I suddenly grabbed my baby, stood up and threw him on the floor.

Oh God!

-What point did you throw your son from and where did he collapse that led to his death?

-I mean, I don’t get it, throwing a baby doesn’t necessarily lead to death. -What did you do?

I threw him real strong.

-Did he die instantly?

No.

What happened? Tell me the story.

My son almost lost consciousness. And that made me feel scared at that moment.

My father threatened to kill me if I told my husband about that.

Then at midnight, my baby started throwing up milk.

I was scared big time. But I pretended to be asleep,

because I was afraid of my husband may find out.

So, I went on sleeping. 

-Then?

Then my husband thought maybe I overfed the baby with milk.

And I said no, I didn’t overfeed him.

The baby kept throwing up milk.

Then my husband said “honey, are you sure?”

Yes, I replied.

He opened the baby’s diaper, thinking that it might be bed wetting.

I was still in panic. My father kept warning me with his gestures.

I’d gone totally clumsy, having no idea what to do.

My husband even tried to give the baby mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Then we took him to a hospital.

He slipped in a coma for 9 days. Later they called from the hospital…

It was all because of the goddamned drugs.

-You mean you were addicted to crystal meth back then, right?

He’s tempted me into taking it.

-You mean when you breast-fed the baby you used to take meth?

I have nothing to say, I just feel too ashamed, can’t look my husband in the eyes.

I just want to tell him that...

(In the hospital) I tried to pacify my husband.

I said let’s start from the scratch. Let’s go back to your hometown.

But the hospital officials had reported my son’s death to the police as suspicious.

So they summoned us to the criminal police department.

When we were there, I looked quite scared. My husband asked me what was wrong with me.

I said, nothing, I’m fine. I’m ok.

-And later?

Then they interrogated me. And I confessed to the whole thing.

So, they detained me and set my husband free.

My husband said he would file a lawsuit against me.

He was extremely angry at me. 

 

30-21:

Woman reciting poem:

“I still love you. Remembering your affectionate hands keeps me alive.

Your arms still give me the peace and your love is still the legend,

the opening of all sonnets.

Drag the sword on me, kill me, embarrass me in my insanity for you,

in my bravery for you.

But I’m still thirsty, so thirsty about another kiss from your powerful magical lips.

The barren desert of my chest is still craving for rain.

It’s still shocked and wandering around.

Don’t push me away. I can’t believe that.

Believe it or not, your arms still make miracles every night,

even when I’m displaced in this strange world.”

 

31-13:

Door No. 3

 

31-19:

My marriage was sort of a forced one. I wasn’t in love with him.

I would say I was traded, given in exchange for a promise.

Actually, I was forced by my family.

My father said the guy is such a nice man and that he could make me happy.

He said because the guy is older than me, so he is wiser and more understanding.

But in my engagement ceremony, when we were tying the knot,

except for my father, no one from my family attended.

Back then I wished to have a dowry like other girls,

to hold a colorful wedding like other girls.

Becoming a bride is only once-in-a-lifetime occasion after all.

But, well, all my dreams were buried alive inside me.   

 

I’d go to the victim’s shop to buy clothes

(and sell them on the street) along with my husband.

I felt very ashamed about being a vendor.

But that way I could earn a living and afford the rent.

One day at around 7:30 or 8, my husband and I went to the victim’s shop.

My husband told him that we had a bunch of photo frames.

He said “we used them to hold some sports certificates belonging to me and my wife.”

He added that those frames were useless at our home

and since we’re tenants, we’re just keeping them in boxes.

What do you think we can do with them? He asked.

Then the guy said, ok bring them here. I’ll display them at the shop

and will sell them for you after taking off a little percentage as my profit.

(The day after) it was around 6:30 or 6:45, when I heard the doorbell.

I was extremely yearning for drugs, but I had none at home at the moment.

I used to take crystal meth.

I started being addicted to meth since 1997.

Back then I had to pay 40 thousand tomans per centigram. Still, I did buy and take it.

That day I was terribly tense (without drugs).

I heard the bell ring and got up from the bed with difficulty.

I picked up the door opener and answered it.

The guy claimed to be the “gas controller”.

I didn’t open the door and just dropped it.

But he buzzed again. This time he said this is Nasser and

“I’m here for the photo frames.”

He was like “I just met your husband on his way out of home.”

So, I believed him, because my husband had just left.

He said “your husband asked me to come over and take the frames with me.”

Then he asked for some water.

He followed me as I went to the kitchen. I didn’t realize that first.

But in the kitchen, when I offered him the glass,

I sensed that he had a dirty intention.  

He touched my shoulders and that scared me a lot.

I turned back and told him “excuse me Nasser, what are you doing in the kitchen?”

Then he grabbed the glass and put it aside on the table.

He was like “I don’t want water, I just want you.”

But I said, come on, I always treated you like a brother.

He replied: oh forget about the brother thing and stuff. I know you need money.

I couldn’t overcome him. So, I started begging him and fell on my knees. 

He twisted my hair in his one hand.

His right hand was free. He held the cash in it and offered 200 thousand tomans,

saying this is the payment for the favor you’re doing me.

He proposed to do this 2, 3 times a week, saying no one would find out.

He said he knew I needed the money.

But I went on begging him, kneeled down on him.

I was grabbing his left leg, but then he hit me in the chest with his right leg

and threw me on the kitchen floor.

He said he won’t be listening and that I had to do this for him.

 

Should I talk about the undressing as well?

He pulled down his pants to his knees. 

He grabbed my hair and rested my neck on his chest, asking me to do it.

 

Writing:

“This woman has been in prison for 4 years now.

She’d already been sexually abused and harassed several times in her childhood.

Even as a married woman, she’s been still under pressure by certain people to sleep with them.”

 

37-20:

I urged him to put his clothes back on. But (after he rejected that),

I said ok, I’ll act as you wish, but then let me do the undressing for you.

I opened my scarf and folded his eyes with it.

I said this is because I feel shy, to look you in the eyes (while doing it).

Then he lied on the kitchen floor.

I had to make the decision at that moment.

Shall I go on?

He thought I was ready for doing it.

He was drunk and the smell of the alcohol was sickening me,

it made me hate him so much.

At the moment, I wouldn’t care about my kid, my family, my husband, not even myself.

All I wanted to do was to save myself (from being raped), to prevent it.

As I grabbed the knife’s handle, I felt hugely strong and spirited.

Should I explain the details of the murder too? I can’t.

 

About the way I murdered him, perhaps other people would have not done it that way,

maybe they would have hit him in somewhere else (less vital parts of his body).

But the only thing I could see was the knife.

He was so drunk and numb, that he didn’t even feel the first stab.

He removed the scarf from his eyes.

But his body was too numb to feel that I had hit him.

As he started to get up, half way there, with one hand on his eyes,

he was shocked. I stabbed him another blow in the belly.

He got up as his blood was horribly splashing on me.  

He hardly stood up, he couldn’t hold firm.

Then I screamed “hey I warned you and urged you not to do this!”

I gave him another blow, which hit him here in the elbow.

He was just trembling before my eyes.

And I only watched that in disbelief. 

In less than a minute maybe, he collapsed on his right side.

And there were only a few horrible shakes of his body.

And then he stopped, still and motionless. 

(Then I called my husband) and told him “listen Asghar, I just killed Nasser!”

He was like “what are you talking about? You’re too weak to kill a man, are you kidding me?!

Maybe that’s the impact of taking too much mess again huh?”

“For God’s sake, just get home right now”, I replied.

He asked me to call Saeed for help until he arrives home.

Saeed was our neighbor, the guy who sold me drugs.  

Saeed had a crush on me and my husband was aware about that.

We lifted the body and they put it inside a TV paper box.

It was like frozen and dried. It was the first time I was facing a dead body,

it was the first time I’d committed murder.

The body was cold and dry when they were tying him up.

We wrapped the box with wide tapes real tight.

Then we put it on the trunk of the victim’s own car.

We drove it to the Qom road.

We sprayed two 4-liter gallons of gas over the box and set it on fire.

He waited until the flames went large enough.

Then he quickly got back on the car.

 

I still wanna survive to have the chance to take my revenge on a few other abusers.

Later, Saeed committed suicide, that made me feel better in a way,

another one (of my abuser) was gone.

Therefore, I was a bit happy.

But my husband was trying to use the case, taking advantage of the situation.

He forced me to work and earn a living.

I used to go to work and when I came back I would find him on the bed with the landlord’s daughter.

Every time I caught him, he would promise not to do that again,

claiming that I was the one he loved.

He even swore to the Quran, saying it was the last time he betrayed me.

But he never understood me.

After one week, I saw him with the landlord’s daughter again.

Later he brought a man to our place, a tall dark guy.

He said the guy would be my new colleague.

He said “so you don’t have to do vendor stuff anymore. The guy will teach you the new job.”

Initially, we used to sell clothes and suitcases.

Later, I realized that he transferred drugs in the suitcases and sold them.

Now, I had turned into a professional drug dealer. 

Meanwhile, one night I retold the entire murder story for the new guy.

So, he started taking advantage of me by extortion.

He grabbed and confiscated whatever I had.

Even if I forget the other abusers, I’ll definitely hunt down that guy,

because he’s the one who ruined my life.

All the blackmail and stuff…He took my kid away from me.

I gave away everything to him…All my childhood memories.

And ultimately, he was the one who reported on me.

The murder took place in 2007 but wasn’t disclosed until 2011.

 

I begged (my husband) to bring my kids here for a visit.

I said I have received the death penalty, let me see them once more.

He said they have been told that you’re dead.

They will be devastated if they find their mom is waiting at the gallows.

My mother learned that I had committed murder

but she never asked me why I did it, never tied find out what the hell I did.

(Before the murder) I begged my mother to let me in her home

and help me leave the jerk (my husband).

She said she couldn’t do that.

I said mom, please, I’m ready to do anything for you and act based on your will.

Please, just let me back in my family home.

 

Hello my dear mom, I miss your nice voice, your beautiful eyes.

I wish I could hear your voice only once more.

I miss the days of childhood when you hugged me and touched my hair.

Mommy, for God’s sake, please pick up the phone.

 

 

47-41:

(Prayer call)

Inmates reciting prayer:

“O’ Allah send blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad!”

Prayer leader: Another prayer for your release:

“O’ Allah send blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad!”

Prayer leader: Another prayer for our , wishing them the path of righteousness:

“O’ Allah send blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad!”

 

 

Warning from the pager:

“Ladies, attention please. Those who do their hair boyish styles,

both the person with such hairstyle and the one who did for her

will be summoned by the disciplinary committee.

That will be considered a violation of the jail’s domestic rules.

So, ladies you’re required to observe the regulations and refrain from doing so.”  

 

50-18

Door No. 4

 

I was born in 1983. My mother is a religious panegyrist.

I mean I grew up in a religious family,

but I turned out to be the only rubbish one among them!

I was 13 when I took drugs for the first time.

My mother placed the drugs on the police chief’s table to report on me.

But she thought by doing so, they’d just let go of me with a simple warning.

She never knew that this way I may end up in a correctional institution or prison.

Still, since I was too young, the judge had mercy on me.

Back then, I used to take opium and weed only.

He threw the drug into the dust bin.

He said my sentence was 22 days and a bunch of lashes.

And that was just the beginning of how I ended up in a place I should have never entered.

They sent me to the teens’ correctional institution.

There, I broke the windows and I’m still doing such vandalism in here too.

My arms are filled with scars of self-injury (attempted suicide).   

Back in the correctional center, they said I was old enough,

that is 18, to be transferred to a regular prison.

A prison is a place where you develop bonds with people you call friends

after sharing with them past pains and getting things off your hearts. 

I felt like I was the man and the others were the women.

I mean even among a gang of boys, I’d feel comfortable.

So, anyone who dared to act rude, would get beaten up.

Frist, they sent all the thugs into one big hall.

They said that was our ward.

My fellow inmate was with me then. I mean the lady who died.

From now on, I’m telling you how her murder took place.

Can I go on?

-Oh yes.

 

53-06

Imagine this was the first room where we were all sleeping.

She had already started being unruly and teasing us on the dinner table.

She grabbed the other inmate’s neck so real tight that her face went black.

Then she kicked me while I was asleep, asking me to move aside.

She stood like this and asked the underdog person to step back.

More, a bit more, a little more, she said.   

And the poor girl stepped backwards.

Then she grabbed this coffee mug and threw it right at her head.

The huge blow on this side of her head immediately removed her hair

and almost revealed her skull.

From now, I intervened, and led the beaten girl to the nearby room, it was like here.

Then I fell onto the attacker like professional hardcore wrestlers,

put her on the ground and slammed her with my elbow like this.

Then pressed her back and broke a hell of bones in her.

I was quite drowsy. She’d push me and I fell backward like this.

I would fall off and then would come onto her again.

I said Hanieh, forget about fighting, let go of this, come on.

She was like “no, this is just the beginning.”

 

54-34:

Second woman:

She (the murdered inmate) was a bully.

She’d beat up everyone.

She’d punch you in the mouth or nose and the blood was everyone. 

 

I said what else do we wanna do?

She said “go get something good enough.” Like what, I asked.

She said “grab something like a shawl not a scarf.”

 

I went crazy for a moment and totally lost temper.

 

So I got up and grabbed a shawl from her suitcase.

I thought the shawl was loose and would easily get broken.

It was reticular. I was expecting it to go loose after a second.

But it didn’t. I gave her the shawl and she pulled it like a belt to test it this way.

Then she laid the victim on the ground in the other room, like here.

She tied the shawl around her neck.

Now, she grabbed the bottom of the shawl this way and started pulling it,

while the other girl pulled the other end.

Now, she jumped on her belly once again.

And then asked the other inmate to change roles.

 

I wouldn’t give in to bullying behavior.

 

Again, she kept pulling the shawl, with her feet on her body like this,

while Hedieh pulled it from the other side and they didn’t stop doing that.

 

I left one end of the shawl on the floor and grabbed the other in my hand and started pulling.

(The murder) took me less than 5 minutes.

 

Now, she removed the shawl from her head. Then she held her against the door.

The two now started hitting her back with a piece of glass.

Then I went forward and stopped in front of them.

I was their friend, still they didn’t spare me, they hit me too.

I still have the bruise on my back.

So, they continued hitting her back with the broken glass big time, filled it with deep scars.

I mean there was no intact spot on her back.

Then she grabbed her again and threw her on the floor.

 

I didn’t even touch the victim. Still, I claimed responsibility.

-Then why did you take responsibility for something which you say your friend did?

Because she was my friend.

 

Writing:

“These two women share a pretty similar life since their adolescence.

They’ve both spent about two thirds of their lifetime in imprisonment:

Correctional institutions, prisons, murder in jail…etc…

 

57-22:

She gave me a chador and asked me to hang it. So that when the guards come for name checking in the morning,

we’ll tell them that he victim committed suicide with that.

And that there was no murder.

 

57-36:

She twisted the shawl around her hand then pulled up one leg.

Then twisted it around the leg too and held it with one hand,

and now started stretching the shawl again.

The victim begged her, please put an end to it, she said.

-What did she mean by that? 

She meant kill me and relieve me.

Now, I came again to kick her but I realized that the victim was already dead.

She’d wetted her pants and she was finished off.

Actually, my friend killed her alone.

Then I started calling the guards

“hey sisters, come on, we have a dead body here.”

But the guards in the previous shift had told their colleagues

that whenever these girls call for help and claim that there’s a body or a suicidal person, they are lying.

They’d told them that the inmates do this in order to bring the guards inside

and ask for some bread and stuff, because they suddenly crave for such things.  

The guard passed by like this.

I told her: come on, someone has died here and stuff like that.

As you know a dead body always turns quite heavier than normal.

I tried to pull her up using my chador.

But she fell off with her head smashing on the ground,

and the blood covering the entire place.        

Now, she gave the other girl a handkerchief and ordered her to clean up the blood.

So, the poor girl started cleaning up the mess.

Now we had to deal with a corpse.

In the morning, when they came for the name calling,

the guards asked us to get out and line up in the hall.

I said, I’ve been calling for help since last night about the dead body

of a suicidal inmate, why didn’t you ever come in?

She was like: “ok, show me the body and prove your lie!”

Then I got back in, pulled the body from inside the bathroom,

like this and brought it to the main door.

And I just dropped her leg on the ground.

It was like detached from her body,

because 74 bones of her 124 ones were already fractured.

As I dropped the leg, the guard suddenly fainted in shock, just like this.

 

 

So I killed her.

 

Excuse me, can I have some water?

-Yes, please.

 

There was 9 of us. They all committed suicide. She and I were the only ones left.

 

I had already received my release verdict on that very night.

They recalled me for the release process.

But before that I had to go through the 35 lashes (which was part of my sentence).

I went to the lashing room. I saw two guys over there, told one of them,

hey bro, can I get lashed before you, I’m in a hurry.

Actually, I was in a hurry to escape possible accusations of the murder.

He turned back, I told him: my father is already waiting for me outside.

He went like this: “how come your family is more important than mine. My brother is waiting for me at the door too.

No, I’ll get the lashes first and then it will be your turn.”

I said, fine by me, I’ll show you how it works.

Now, I went to the other one. I just needed ten minutes to get out.

I said hey pal, you do me the favor. Let me get my lashes. It’s doesn’t take any time,

I received it for some robbery. Then I’ll be gone for good.

He was like this: nope! No way!

So, I said, ok, there’s no way anymore. I’ll have to wait.

After I was done with the 35 lashes, I left the room to get into the car which would take me to the door.

I said, let’s go driver.

He said no, I have to wait, two people missed the cab. I have to wait for them.

The two got in and each sat by my one side.

We went to the main entry.

The guy asked my name. Maryam, I replied.

Father’s name: I said Mohammad.

He was about to ask my ID number. I could see the door and could wave for outsiders.

The guy got back into the office and returned to me saying

oh take this dirty inborn murderer into the jail.”

You were going to escape the law? He asked.

I said oh come on, what are you talking about gentleman?    

I was like I never escape the law sir!

 

She got into a fight with them in the court. 

-What do you mean? What did she do?

She entered a fight with the victim’s children.

 

We went to the court along with 13 soldiers.

Her daughter was like 13 years old.

She came forward and asked the guards: “can I talk to this woman for a minute?”

 

The girl said I want my mom back.

I told her, honey, I swear I didn’t kill your mother.

At the opening of the trial, which was held 8 years after captivity, I cursed and insulted the judge.

Why don’t you just determine our fate? I complained.

Just hit us with a death penalty or something and stop extending our temporary detention.

He was quick to respond: so you really want to receive the death penalty?

I said yes, I committed the crime and ok, just issue the execution ruling right now.

I was like if you’re serious enough, give me the death penalty now.

He did so, and interestingly, the advisors down there, told me,

by pushing me like this, come on, hey, don’t sign it!

 

We both received the death penalty.

 

After that I tried suicide a couple of times.

I cut my hand’s vein and kept it inside a bucket of cold water.

Right here.

I put it inside the bucket. Then I covered myself with a blanket, waiting to die.

I lost a huge hell of blood.

The blood had filled and even spilled over the bucket.

It was a small bucket, this size.

 

I have no hope in my life. I’ve had tough times.

My brother died, my father died, two of my uncles died, my grandparents died, my 14-year-old brother died.

All the pains left a negative impact on me.

 

Since I’m such a nasty inmate here, they always punish me by banning visitations, or keeping me in the solitary.

I mean last year, I spent only a few months in the normal wards.

 

I was sent to correctional institution in 1996 and then put in jail in 2004.

The killing took place in 2004.

 

The confinement cell is just a bed. It looks like a grave.

In a way, in there you face the gallows like a thousand times a day.

The scene is like this: here’s the water bottle.

It’s only as big as this: from that point to here.

All I do there is drink water like this. I even spent the New Year ’s Eve alone in there.

I have a copy of Quran there.

They never give you a chador (to prevent suicide).

So I do prayers on the floor.

Unfortunately, when you say prayers other inmates say “(it’s not sincere because)

you’re begging God for a longer life only.

But I don’t listen to them. Once I told them…(inaudible)

 

1-6-30:

It was a few months ago, when I managed to escape and hide in the nearby cane field.

It was around 7 in the evening. I sat down in the field like this.

Then the prison guards raided the place.

They’d found out that I was absent.

I hid and camouflaged by lying down.

Then the soldiers were walking like this.

They were trampling the ground so that to touch me and hear me cry.

But they realized it just didn’t work.

So, they set the field on fire.

But actually it was in my interest; they were lightening the way for me and I could run away.

 

I always like people to praise me.

-What do you mean?

I mean, I like people to say good stuff about me.

Everyone likes to be raised by their parents, to live a safe happy life.

 

I really miss my mother’s arms. I really miss my father.  

 

My father was executed over drugs.

I was an 8-month-old baby back then.

 

If the plaintiffs pardon me, and set me free from here, yeah sure, I can change into another person.

 

When I’m possibly released from here, I have to be able to afford my life.

I need to earn a living in the outside world.

I’d like then to go to work.

My mother is working already…

And then…

 

(When I’m out) I’ll have to go to a medical center first, because I’m not fine at all. 

When I’m alone, I keep reviewing all my past.

Now, I have nothing to lose.

 

Writings:

“This woman was released after a benefactor paid the legal compensation to her plaintiff.”

 

“This woman was sent to the gallows once, but the verdict wasn’t implemented…She’s still awaiting execution in jail.”

 

“This woman is still treating inmates with bullying and abusive behavior.”  

 

“This woman is still treating inmates with bullying and abusive behavior.”  

 

“This woman was pardoned by her husband.”

 

1-12:

The last door:

 

1-12-30

-Excuse me where are you going to?

Sorry?

-Where are you headed?

I’m freed.

-Sorry?

I’m released. 

-How long were you jailed here?

Around like 4, 5 months.

-And why? What were you convicted of?

My husband had given me stolen clothes. I didn’t know they were stolen stuff.

Later, I went out of home and a neighbor caught me and reclaimed the clothes.

-Then?

So she sued me. That was all. 

-What was the original verdict?

The original one was a 6-month sentence and 10 lashes, that was it.

I gave birth to my baby inside this prison.

But I had to hand him to the state nursery, because I couldn’t raise him here.

He was too young, I only saw him in hospital, he was this tiny size.

-You miss him?

Pretty much. I really miss him big time. I miss him a lot.

-Now, where should you go to take him back?

I have to go to my mom’s first.

Then we’ll get the official permit to go take him back from the nursery.

-What was prison like?

Not too bad, I mean for homeless people, for people who commit crimes.

They come here and are taught a lesson. It’s good for those people.

But not for me, I was innocent, I hadn’t done anything wrong.

This was too much for me. It was unfair, because I was innocent.

Now, how does freedom feel?  

I’m so happy right now. I can’t believe I’m free.

These are the stolen stuff… the sneakers and…

These were the things my husband had stolen and given me, while I had no idea they were stolen.

-Who did he steal them from?

From the neighbor next door.

I was going to my mom’s to borrow some money from her.

On my way, the neighbor caught me and decided to sue me.

I was pregnant. I told her how a pregnant woman could possibly commit theft? 

I’m extremely happy.

-You’re finished with the paperwork and leaving now, right?

Yeah.

-Should I rest assured?

Yes.

-What are you going to do once you are out there?

Right now, I’ll go to my mom’s. I’ll see her…

 

Hello? No, listen, you don’t have to come here, I’ll come over on my own,

just give me the address.

No, I was just released. I’m still there, leaving prison right now.  

What? Give me the address, I’ll come to Afsariyeh.

I’ll call you when I’m there, ok?

Anything else?

Let’s go.

 

Guard:

Did you get her fingerprint?

Here please.

 

-Is your mom waiting for you?

Yeah, I just called her.

-How about your husband?

-I won’t go to him now, I’ll see my mom first, that’s more urgent for me. I’ll go to my husband’s later.  

 

Oh yeah, now I can leave this thing.

 

-Have you got cash?

They normally give us some upon release.

-Like how much?

2, 3 thousand tomans, so that we can get home.

-So, 2, 3 thousand tomans to help you get home, right?

Yes.

Then what will you do next without money?

Sorry?

-What are you going to do next?

It’s easy, I’ll get a cab to my mom’s, she’ll pay the guy on the spot, as simple as that.

-Where’s your mom’s place?

Pardon?

-Where’s she located?

Afsariyeh.

-Can I ask you a question?

And my husband’s is in Sarcheshmeh.

-You’ve got a disease, right?

Yes.

-What’s your disease?

I got AIDS.

-How long has it been with you?

I don’t know, I found out in the jail.

-My cab is ready.

 

 

Writing:

“In me there is a season without a name.

Is it that the mirrors are defected or is it that I no longer look like myself?

In me there is a woman without a name…”

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