The following is the transcript of a radio interview with 12-year-old Mahdiye Salimi, daughter of arrested union activist Yaghoub Salimi. It first appeared in WPI Briefing 188-9, 30 January 2006, which we are reproducing here. Translation by Arash Sorx.

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Even children are not spared!

Interview with Mahdiye Salimi, the 12 year old daughter of union member who was beaten and arrested

As reported in WPI Briefing, up to 700 workers of the Syndicate of Workers and Employees of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company have been arrested. Moreover, the wives and children of some executive members have also been arrested. They were taken out of bed and beaten up during raids on Friday 27 January night. The beatings continued in detention. Substitute member of the union’s executive board, Yaghoub Salimi's 2-year-old daughter was injured on her face in the attack, when she was thrown into a waiting patrol van. Her 12-year-old elder sister, Mahdiye, described the ordeal in detail in an interview with a radio station abroad. Below you will find a translation of the full transcript of radio “Avaye Ashena” (familiar voice) interview with 12 year old Mahdiye Salimi:

Reporter: Hello.

Mahdiye: Hello. How are you?

Reporter: Thank you. I hope you are alright. Please tell us what happened.

Mahdiye: We were asleep. They rang the doorbell of our home. They called out: Mrs. Salami, come to door for one moment” They were in such a hurry that they didn’t even allow my mom to dress properly. As soon as my mom opened the door, they poured into our home. I was asleep along with Mrs. Zia’s daughter. They pulled the blankets from our bodies and started to hit us with their “feet and hands” and told us to get into the van. Mrs. Razavi wanted to get some clothes for her daughter and they started to hit her badly. They even kicked my mom’s heart with their boots and my mom had an enormous ache in her heart. She still has some wounds on her body. They hit her with a baton and didn’t listen to my mother's appeals. They even wanted to spray something in my [2 year old] sister’s mouth.

Then they took us to detention. Where we went was not hygienic at all and it was so cold. We asked for blankets. They said “we don’t have any”. “We are just doing our duty”. They hit us so much. We asked for lunch. They brought us the leftovers of their own lunch which was nasty chicken skin mixed with some kind of sauce.

Reporter: Why did they keep hitting you and your mom?

Mahdiye: She wanted to get on the van but first wanted to take my sister to the bathroom. As soon as she started to go, they grabbed my sister from behind and pushed her into the van. My sister hit her head when she was thrown into the van and they also kept hitting my mom.

Reporter: Did they do all of this in the street? Did your neighbours see all this?

Mahdiye: Yes they did. All the neighbours came out and were watching what was going on. When they raided our home, there was at least 70-80 of them while we were only 3 women and 5 children. They rushed to the roof so no one could escape. They even went to our neighbours' homes and even arrested our neighbours' guests.

Reporter: What did they want?

Mahdiye: They wanted to know where my dad is. We didn’t know that. We didn’t have any news of my dad's whereabouts.

Reporter: Where is your mom right now?

Mahdiye: Yesterday they told us that she will be released soon. They wanted to bring her to the Ministry of Intelligence. Somebody said they might take her to Evin Prison but then they said she would be taken to the fourth base of the Ministry of Intelligence.

Reporter: how old are you?

Mahdiye: I am 12.

Reporter: Did they hit you?

Mahdiye: Yes they did. They hit all of us. Even a child from year 1. They made all the children cry.

Reporter: can I ask your name?

Mahdiye: I am Mahdiye Salimi.

Reporter: Why do you think they are doing this? Has your father done something wrong?

Mahdiye: Nothing. My father has done nothing wrong. He just has asked for his rights. The rights that they didn’t give him. For example for every 200 tomans of his wage, they have taken 100 for themselves.

Reporter: Are you going to the prison with your father again?

Mahdiye: Yes.

Reporter: Are you anxious?

Mahdiye: Of course I am. How can I not be? When they took my mother they didn’t even let us to be with her for a moment. They even didn’t let us hug her.

Reporter: I heard that your [two year old] sister was also wounded. Is that true?

Mahdiye: Yes. When they pushed her into the van, her lips hit metal and was badly hurt.

Reporter: Did they continue hitting your mom there?

Mahdiye: Yes they did. They hit her even there.

Reporter: Is your school closed?

Mahdiye: No it is not. It was supposed to be closed because of heavy snowfall but they announced that it was open.

Reporter: So you missed school too?

Mahdiye: Yes. I missed my classes.

Reporter: How many children were there?

Mahdiye: There were 5. Mrs, Zia's daughter from year 3 (10 years old). Mrs. Razavi's daughter from year 1(7 years old). And one from year 9 (15 years) and myself (I am 12 year old and from year 6) and my own sister who is 2 and a half.

Reporter: And how many women? Do you remember how many you were in total?

Mahdiye: There were 3 women.

Reporter: Are you the only children who were released?

Mahdiye: No all the children were released but our mothers (my mother and Mrs. Zia) have not been released yet.

Reporter: What do you want from people who are listening to you? What is your wish?

Mahdiye: I want them to defend us. Do something so my mother will be released soon. Now our mother is in detention and there is nobody to take care of us.

The above was translated by Arash Sorx for WPI Briefing.

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