She lost her baby three months after her arrest due to the severity of her torture.
Zahra became acquainted with the PMOI after the 1979 Revolution. She joined the organization’s struggle for the rights and freedom of the Iranian people, who were living under the religious tyranny imposed after the overthrow of the Shah.
Soon after Zahra joined the PMOI, she was arrested and imprisoned.
In a letter she wrote in prison, Zahra Bijanyar said, “…I understand that history’s tyrants, since the time of Adam and Eve until today, even if they cut the body of a Muslim apart, they cannot take away her life so long as she remains firmly loyal to her faith in God. They can only take away our lives if we trade our faith and hearts to them… Pray to God for me to grant me certitude and belief to never choose my own volition over His.”
A fellow inmate, also a political prisoner, was with Zahra Bijanyar from 1981 to 1988 and wrote: “Zahra was one of the prisoners who, during her seven years in prison, had an open case. The probability of her being executed at any moment existed throughout all these years. The interrogators just needed an excuse to execute her. Zahra always shared any gifts she received with her cellmates and would never keep anything for herself. She was a wonder in learning things, and she tried to learn something from everyone. She was always in high spirits. When the guards found out about the network we had inside the prison, they took Zahra to the units in Ghezel Hesar. She underwent constant torture and long interrogations. However, she never gave up.
“In August 1988, Zahra and I were transferred to solitary confinement. We were in one cell together. Despite the harsh conditions and bleak prospects, Zahra’s spirit never changed. In that very cell, she taught me, German.
“She was able to bring a Quran into the prison cell somehow, and we would read and memorize the Quran every day. I will never forget her jokes and how, in those dark and hard days inside our prison cell, she would imitate the mullahs and the death commission in Khomeini’s courts. In her last days, she sang all the songs and poems she could remember.”
Zahra Bijanyar was a conscious and knowledgeable person who believed in the legitimacy of her struggle against tyranny at any price.
Another one of her comrades wrote, “Zahra Bijanyar would always advise anyone of her friends, who were about to be freed from prison, to join the National Liberation Army (the military wing of the PMOI). Zahra would say that the main field of struggle was precisely there, in the NLA.”
Zahra’s sister also talked about the vicious tortures she had undergone, in an interview with a French writer:
“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 1988 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 going on,” says Zohreh. “After that, visitation stopped. My family would go to the prison and sit outside the doors for hours every day.”
It wasn’t until November 1988 that her family would find out that Zahra had been executed.
 Excerpted from an article by Violet Rusu, “Living with the Legacy of a Massacre”