New Letter from Shirin Alam Hooli, a Kurdish Political Prisoner on Death Row in Iran


Ms. Alam Hooli (born on June 3, 1981) was born in the village of Gheshlagh near the city of Maku in Iran. She was arrested in May of 2007 by the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran. She spent the first 25 days of her imprisonment in an unknown location under brutal physical and psychological torture. After that she was transferred to Section 209 of the Evin Prison where she was held in solitary confinement and subjected to brutal torture for six months. After that she was transferred to the Women’s ward in the Evin Prison.

On December 19th 2009 she was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for illegal exit from Iran, and sentenced to death for being a “Mohareb” (enemy of God) for her alleged involvement in Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK). Her trial took place in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, under Judge Salavati. He lawyer was informed of the decision on January 3, 2010 and has appealed the decision, however to this point there is no judgment from the Court of Appeal.

In her first letter Ms. Alam Hooli wrote about the brutal physical and psychological torture she was subjected to during interrogation. As a result of that torture Ms. Alam Hooli is currently suffering from numerous health problems which she has pointed out in her current letter. In her previous letter Ms. Alam Hooli had also stated that the interrogators had tried very hard to break her hunger strike. In her second letter she writes about how the interrogators are trying to force a televised confession from her, asking her to deny her Kurdish ethnicity by subjecting her to further interrogations.

The Letter of Ms. Shirin Alam Hooli

I am entering into my third year of imprisonment, three years under the worst conditions behind the bars of the Evin prison. I spent the first two years of my imprisonment without a lawyer, and in pre-trial custody. All my inquiries about my case went unanswered until I was unjustly sentenced to death.

Why have I been imprisoned and why am I going to be executed? For what crime? Is it because I am Kurdish? If that’s the case then I must say I was born a Kurd.

My language is Kurdish, the language that I use to communicate with my family, friends and community, and the language that I grew up with. But I am not allowed to speak my language or read it, I am not allowed to go to school in my own language and I am not allowed to write it. They are telling me to deny my Kurdish identity, but if I do, that means I have to deny who I am.

Mr. Judge and Interrogator:

When you were interrogating me, I couldn’t speak your language and couldn’t understand you. I learned Farsi in the past two years in the women’s section of the prison from my friends. But you interrogated me, tried me and sentenced me in your own language even though I couldn’t understand it and couldn’t defend myself.

The torture that you subjected me to has become my nightmare. I am in constant pain because of the torture I was subjected to. The blows to my head during interrogation has caused major problems to my head, and sometimes I suffer from severe headaches, where I lose all sense of myself, my nose starts bleeding from the pain and this lasts for several hours until I start to feel normal again.

Another “gift” your torture has left me is the damage to my eyes which get worse by the day. My request for glasses has gone unanswered. When I entered this prison my hair was black, now after three years of imprisonment, my hair has started to turn white.

I know you have done this not only to me but to all Kurds including Zeynab Jalaliyan and Ronak Safarzadeh… The eyes of Kurdish mothers are full of tears, waiting to see their children. They are in a state of constant worry, in fear that each phone call may bring the news of the execution of their children.

Today is May 2, 2010 and once again they took me to Section 209 of the Evin prison for interrogation. They asked me to cooperate with them in order for me to be pardoned and not executed. I don’t understand what they mean by cooperation, when I don’t have anything more to say than what I have already said. They want me to repeat whatever they say, but I refuse to do it.

The interrogators told me “we wanted to release you last year, but your family wouldn’t cooperate with us so things had to come to this.” He admitted to me that I was a hostage and until they reach their goal they will keep me a prisoner or execute me, but they will never release me.

Shirin Alam Hooli

May 3rd 2010

Serkeftin (Victory in Kurdish)

Translation by: Sayeh Hassan |