Zahra Bijanyar

Zahra Bijanyar was 24 years old and two months pregnant when she was arrested and sentenced to 10 years for her support of the PMOI.

Bijanyar lost her baby three months after her arrest due to the severity of her torture.

She was kept in the residential section of Ghezel Hesar where she was frequently raped and tortured according to Bijanyar’s sister, Zohreh.

“She was alive, but destroyed,” Zohreh says over the phone through translator Ali Zia. “She was beaten so badly that she lost her eyesight and was hard to recognize. Her feet had been lashed to the point where she could barely walk.”

Bijanyar had spent seven years in prison before the massacre occurred.

Nobody could have imagined what was happening inside the walls of Iranian prisons that summer, until the first inclination of the massacre arrived.

“July 18, 1988, was the last time I saw my sister, she told me something fishy was happening,” says Zohreh. “After that, visitation stopped. My family would go to the prison and sit outside the doors for hours everyday.”

It wasn’t until November 1988 that her family would find out that Bijanyar had been executed.

Excerpted from an article by Violet Rusu, “Living with the Legacy of a Massacre”