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Iranian Hajj Pilgrim Tells Horrific Story of Prison Torture Back Home | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah- Jamal Boukareem tells the horrific tales of ongoing torture, which seems to be the norm in Iranian prisons. Cringing at the sight of soup, Boukareem recollects horrifying memories of prison officers in Tehran promising to chop his child into cutlets that would later be made into soup for him to eat.

Here today, Boukareem arrives to Holy Makkah to carry out the annual Hajj pilgrimage from France, his current place of residence.

The ex-inmate had successfully escaped the cruelty of his regime, crossing Iranian-Iraqi borders, finally starting over his life from zero in France.

Speaking to a group of other pilgrims, Boukareem dredges up stories from when he was kept in an underground cell, and winces at the memories which had been etched to his flesh.

Boukareem, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, says that he was arrested by the Iranian regime in 2000. When being taken in, the officers would cite political reasons for his detention.

During interrogation, Boukareem speaks about how he would be subjected to torture to drive out a confession on his stances against the regime. However, he lasted until he was finally released and put under surveillance.

He was then arrested again. But this time Boukareem escaped detention and rushed to the border shared with Iraqi Kurdistan, leaving Iran.

What stands out in Boukareem’s story, are the crimes he was being punished for- some of the reasons for the arrest was him teaching the traditional Kurdish language to young Kurds. Boukareem was left a whole year without being granted trial.

Kept in solitary confinement, Boukareem was not allowed contact with his relatives.

His escape was only made possible after his health had deteriorated miserably, which ultimately forced the hand of officers to showcase him before professional medics. Being sick eventually had its benefits, granting him a window to escape.

Boukareem had not seen his country since. All he remembers of his last days spent in prison, is the traumatizing torment and threats of officers serving his daughter as soup.

The Iranian regime is authoritarian and exploits religion in hopes of bringing back its lost Persian glory, said Boukareem.

Visiting Holy Makkah for this year’s Hajj season, Boukareem expressed deep appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s government for the services and efforts exhausted for providing pilgrims with comfort.