“When they arrested her, her daughter Sarah was only four. But, even in the darkest and most difficult days, Maryam refused to surrender.” These were the words of Shabnam Madadzadeh, a young Iranian woman speaking at a conference in Paris held on Saturday by the Iranian opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran. Shabnam was reciting dreadful memories of the time she spent as a political prisoner in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and other appalling jails in Iran.
The event, broadcasted live on the internet, included speeches of some former Iranian political prisoners newly arrived in Europe, who described the torture and harassments they went through while in prison in Iran.
Shabnam, arrested at the age of 21 back in 2009, recalled a fellow prisoner whom the mullahs’ regime deprived of any visits with her small children.
“During the seven years of her imprisonment, her heart was, and I know now is still yearning to be with her children. She could only be a mother to her kids 30 minutes a week during their visits, and the mullahs’ regime has now completely deprived her of. Despite all this, her radiant smile, which she was famous for, never disappeared,” she added.
Shabnam also addressed Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the charismatic leader of Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), who also spoke at the conference.
“It was your famous phrase that was always with me inside and outside of prison. ‘We can and we must.’ This was the source of my strength when I faced the loud shouts and violence of the regime’s interrogators… This very phrase enabled and empowered me during the horrifying attacks by agents against our campus protests and gatherings. These were the words that inhabited my entire being. They nurtured confidence and were the key to my perseverance while in solitary confinement,” she added.
“This gave me the conviction and faith during interrogation while five to six guards circled around me, talking about executions and torture.”
The session also featured senior Syrian opposition members delivering speeches regarding the atrocious conditions in Aleppo and across Syria due to the crimes committed by the regimes of Iran, Bashar Assad and Russia in Aleppo and throughout the country. The speakers called on the international community to raise their voice, condemn and bring a definite end to these atrocities.
A number of political prisoners and youths recently exiting Iran also spoke about the terrible crackdown imposed in Iran by the mullahs’ regime and their oppressive