Former Iranian prisoner tortured, raped, shares story in Winnipeg
‘This has become the meaning of my life,’ Marina Nemat says
A woman who was raped and tortured as a teenager in an Iranian prison shared her story in a performance at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Saturday.
Marina Nemat is the author ofPrisoner of Tehran and put on a 50-minute performance at the museum, where her story is being featured.
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Nemat was arrested at age 16 in 1982 at gunpoint for being part of a teen resistance in Tehran. She was taken to a prison where she was blindfolded, tortured, raped, and given a death sentence.
The sentence would later be reversed to life in prison without the death penalty, but she was also forced to marry a prison guard who had tortured her.
He was killed and his parents decided to help Nemat and paid for her release at age 19.
"They basically decided they had destroyed me so they eventually let me go but many of my friends died," Nemat said.
Nemat documents her experience in her bookPrisoner of Tehran, but writing the book wasn't easy.
"In another way, it just brought the story back to life and I was reliving it every single time I put pen to paper," she said.
Nemat arrived in Canada in 1991 after fleeing her country to live in Europe. The torture she endured caused her to have PTSD.
She said she was "basically going crazy," and used the symptoms she had as inspiration for her book.
Nemat now shares her story around the world and works with human rights organizations.
"That has become the meaning of my life."
Nemat said her message to anyone who hears her story is to not give up fighting.
"When you see injustice don't go silent into the night," she said.
"Because we live in Canada where there's democracy we are not immune to the legs of Hitler style."
"Look at south of our border. Trump a racist bigot has become the president of the United States. There is cause to worry we are not immune to atrocity," she said.
With files from Thibault Jourdan