Women tortured in the fight against the Shah’s dictatorship
On the eve of the anniversary of Iran’s anti-monarchy Revolution on February 11, 1979, we prepared an episode devoted to the heroism of Iranian women who fought against the Shah’s dictatorship and opened the way for millions of Iranian women to participate in deciding the fate of their country.
Indeed, the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution which toppled the Shah’s dictatorship in Iran, is a reminder of Iranian women’s extensive role and impact in that era, considered a leap forward in the history of the struggles of Iranian women.
The impressive role of women in the 1979 anti-dictatorial revolution in Iran, was influenced by the presence of progressive women in the Mojahedin and the Fedayeen movements that were the main democratic opposition forces to the Shah’s dictatorship.
Some of the political prisoners under the Shah have described the situation in the Shah’s prisons.
Jaleh Daii, now a member of the opposition MEK, was 15 when arrested and imprisoned by the Shah’s secret police in 1976. Her head was covered and she was taken to one of the notorious detentions centers of the secret police, known as Komiteh Shahrbani.
She said, “I remember walking up the stairs and passing through the corridors. Although my head was covered, I could see the floor. I could see the legs of the prisoners who were sitting on the floor and waiting in the corridor. All of them had been flogged and their feet and legs were bloody and inflamed. Some of the legs had been infected up to the knee.”
Jaleh spent a few months in this dreadful place and was subsequently transferred to the women’s ward in Qasr Prison where at least 100 female political prisoners of all ages were detained.
Jaleh says, “All prisoners without exception had been tortured and lashed. I saw many under-age students like myself.”
Fatemeh Amini was a symbol of women’s struggle for freedom under the Shah’s dictatorship.
Fatemeh Amini started her political activities as a freedom-loving intellectual in the School of Literature at the University of Mashhad and soon formed the Association of Progressive Women.
After graduating in 1964, she started teaching in girls’ high schools.
In 1970, she travelled to Tehran where she was acquainted with the underground opposition MEK, and soon became a member.
The Shah’s secret police arrested Fatemeh Amini in 1974 and took her under torture.
Fatemeh was flogged and tortured for months. Her back was burned with an electric broiler for long hours. Although she became paralyzed under torture but did not even give her name to the interrogators. She finally died under torture on August 16, 1975.
Her resistance under torture set an unforgettable role model for freedom loving girls in Iran and after the revolution, dozens of high schools were named after her.