Tortured by Solitude By SARAH SHOURD Oakland, Calif.

The New York Times :
AT 5:15 p.m. I found myself pacing compulsively back and forth across my 10-foot-by-14-foot cell in Iran’s Evin prison, muttering reassurances to myself and kneading my nervous hands together into one fat fist. “Don’t worry,” I told myself, “this is probably your last day alone, they can’t just let you go crazy in here”.
It was 2009 and the beginning of winter. I had been in prison in Iran - along with my fiancé, Shane Bauer, and our friend Josh Fattal - since the summer, when we were arrested and charged with espionage after hiking somewhere near the country’s unmarked border with Iraqi Kurdistan. For the last three months, I had been in solitary confinement 24 hours a day. Only after going on a hunger strike for five days was I allowed to visit Shane and Josh for a few minutes at a time, all of us blindfolded in a padded interrogation room. The day before, one of my interrogators had told me that we would now be allowed daily half-hour visits in an open-air cell. As the hour for our visit approached, I began pacing my room frantically, terrified that the promise had just been a ploy and that the guards wouldn’t be coming. By 6:15, I was sweating and tears were streaming down my face.
It’s impossible to exaggerate how much the company of another human being means when you’ve been cut off from the world and stripped of your rights and freedom.
After two months with next to no human contact, my mind began to slip. Some days, I heard phantom footsteps coming down the hall. I spent large portions of my days crouched down on all fours by a small slit in the door, listening. In the periphery of my vision, I began to see flashing lights, only to jerk my head around to find that nothing was there. More than once, I beat at the walls until my knuckles bled and cried myself into a state of exhaustion. At one point, I heard someone screaming, and it wasn’t until I felt the hands of one of the friendlier guards on my face, trying to revive me, that I realized the screams were my own.
Of the 14 and a half months, or 9,840 hours, I was held as a political hostage at Evin prison in Tehran, I spent 9,495 of them in solitary confinement. When I was released just over a year ago, I was shocked to find out that the United Nations Convention Against Torture , one of the few conventions the United States has ratified, does not mention solitary confinement. I learned that there are untold numbers of prisoners around the world in solitary, including an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 in the United States. According to the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, Juan Méndez, the practice appears to be “growing and diversifying in its use and severity”...
You don’t have to beat someone to inflict pain and suffering; the psychological torture of prolonged solitary confinement leaves no marks, but its effects are severe and long-lasting. Fortunately, the guards did come that winter day. Once I began to have short daily visits with Shane and Josh, my mental health improved, but only marginally. At that point I was sunk so deep inside myself that there were days when I was brought out to visit them and couldn’t communicate or even look them in the eyes. After prison, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I still pace and wring my hands when I am nervous; I still have nightmares and trouble sleeping. I stopped going to a certain exercise class because the texture of the ceiling reminded me of the ceiling in my cell.
Though what the government of Iran did to us was sickening and flagrantly unjust, I consider us lucky. We never felt forgotten; we knew that our families, friends and supporters would not give up fighting for us. And since I was released last year, and Shane and Josh were freed in September, we have gotten more sympathy than most wrongfully detained prisoners receive in a lifetime.
It’s wonderful to begin my life again, and every day I feel more free, but I can’t help thinking about the thousands of others who are alone right now. I believe the excessive use of solitary confinement constitutes cruel and unusual punishment - that it is torture. The United Nations should proscribe this inhumane practice, and the United States should take the lead role in its eradication.
Sarah Shourd is a writer who was imprisoned in Iran from July 2009 to September 2010.

مقاله سارا شورد در مورد حبس انفرادي او در زندان اوين

5نوامبر 2011- نيويورک تايمز - ساعت خبر ندارد - [اين مقاله در تاريخ 7نوامبر به‌دست خبرگزاري رسيده است] - نيويوک تايمز- 5نوامبر 2011- به قلم سارا شرود- اوکلند کاليفرنيا-

ساعت 1715 به خود آمدم ديدم از روي اجبار در يک سلول 3 در 4 چهار متري در زندان اوين مشغول قدم زدن هستم، زير لب غرغر مي‌کردم و به خودم دلداري مي‌دادم، دستهاي عصبي‌ام را به هم مي‌ماليدم و توي هم مي‌فشردم. به خود مي‌گفتم، “نگران نباش، احتمالاً اين آخرين روز تنهايي توست، نمي‌توانند بگذارند من اينجا ديوانه بشوم“. …

درحالي‌که شما از جهان [بيرون ] قطع و حقوق و آزادي از شما سلب شده است، غيرممکن است در مفهوم و ارزش مصاحبت با انسان ديگري مبالغه کرد.

بعد از دو ماه بدون تماس با هيچ‌کسي ذهنم شروع به خيالبافي مي‌کرد. برخي از روزها، خيال مي‌کردم که صداي پايي را در راهرو مي‌شنوم. بيشتر اوقات روز را چهار دست و پا کنار شکافي روي قوز کرده و گوش مي‌دادم. در محدوده که مي‌توانستم نگاه کنم، نورهايي مي‌ديدم، همين که سرم را مي‌گرداندم ديگر چيزي در آن‌جا وجود نداشت. بيش از يک بار، آن‌قدر با مشت بر ديوار کوبيدم تا از مشتهايم خون جاري شد و تا سرحد فرسودگي گريستم.

در يک نقطه، شنيدم کسي جيغ مي‌کشد، و تا اين‌که دست يکي از نگهبانان که فردي نسبتاً دوستانه‌تري بود را روي صورتم حس کردم وي تلاش کرد مرا به هوش بياورد، آن موقع بود که فهميدم اينها جيغهاي خودم بوده که مي‌شنيدم.

در چهارده و نيم ماه، يا 9840ساعتي که به‌عنوان گروگان سياسي در زندان اوين تهران بودم، 9495ساعت آن را در سلول انفرادي به‌سر بردم. …

شما مجبور نيستيد با ضرب و شتم، درد و رنج را بر کسي اعمال کنيد؛ شکنجه رواني در زندانهاي انفرادي طولاني هيچ اثري از خود باقي نمي‌گذارد، اما تأثيراتش شديد و براي مدتهاي طولاني باقي خواهند ماند. … بعد از زندان، تشخيص داده شد مبتلا به بيماري اضطراب و افسردگي ناشي از آن تجربه شده‌ام.

وقتي عصبي مي‌شوم دستهايم را شديداً مي‌فشرم. از رفتن به برخي از کلاسهاي تمريني مشخصي خودداري کردم زيرا نوع سقف کلاس مرا به ياد سقف سلول انفرادي مي‌انداخت.

هر چند دولت ايران با ما دست به رفتارهاي تهوع‌آور و بي‌عدالتي وقيحانه‌يي مي‌زد، ولي به نظرم خوش شانس بوديم. ما هرگز فراموش نشديم؛ مي‌دانستيم براي ما اقوام، دوستان و حاميان ما دست از نبرد دست بر نخواهند داشت. و از زماني که سال پيش من و بعد شين و جاش در ماه سپتامبر آزاد شدند، ما همدردي بيشتري نسبت به کساني غيرقانوني در زندان حبس ابد مي‌گيرند، احساس مي‌کنيم. … نمي‌توانم در مورد هزاران کساني که الآن تنها هستند فکر نکنم.

معتقدم استفاده بيش از حبس انفرادي يک مجازات ظالمانه و غيرمعمولي- و شکنجه مي‌باشد. سازمان ملل بايستي اين عمل را ممنوعه کند و آمريکا بايستي در ريشه کن نمودن آن پيشتاز باشد. … (نيويورک تايمز 15/8/1390)


Post a Comment