Early one morning in 1981, I arrived at the middle school where I taught in Tehran and was informed by two guards from the notorious Evin prison that one of our students had been arrested and would not be returning to school.
I knew that his father was a drug dealer, and supposed that he had been arrested on similar charges. It was the height of the post-revolutionary struggle between Iran’s revolutionary democratic front led by then-president Abolhassan Banisadr, and the dictatorial front led by the Islamic Republican party and its allies. A few months later, Banisadr was ousted in a coup and I was fired from my teaching post.
Later on I learnt that on the same day my former student had been released and recruited as a guard in the same prison. I also learnt from his grandmother that he had not been involved with drugs, but had raped his sister and made her pregnant. At the time, stories of women and girls being raped in prison became so rife thatAyatollah Montazeri sent a team to investigate. They only verified the rumours. Male prison officers – many of them psychotic like my former student – were tasked to rape women, and extensive… >>>