One of Iran’s most prominent female activists has described how confessions are forced out of prisoners, in a letter written inside a notorious jail.
Sepideh Qolian has been serving a five-year sentence since 2018 after being convicted of acting “against national security” for supporting a strike. Writing from Evin prison, she describes the brutal treatment of her and other detainees by interrogators.
Their forced confessions are later broadcast on state-run television. Alluding to the current anti-government protests sweeping the country, Ms Qolian writes: “In the fourth year of my imprisonment I can finally hear the footsteps of liberation from all across Iran. “The echoes of ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ can be heard even through the thick walls of Evin prison.”
Ms Qolian is currently studying law in prison. In her letter she describes how Evin’s “cultural” wing – where she takes her exams – has been turned into a “torture and interrogation” building, and says she has witnessed young detainees being interrogated there….