From Iranian prison to the guerrilla struggle

Berîvan Hêjar was in prison in Iran as a young woman and was tortured. Today she fights for a free life in the ranks of the YRK.

Berîvan Hêjar is a guerrilla fighter in the East Kurdistan Defense Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Rojhilatê Kurdistan, YRK). She comes from a patriotic family from the city of Mako. She went to school for ten years. During this time she experienced the oppression of women by the regime and the repression against the Kurdish population. Berîvan then set out in search of possibilities for resistance. At an early age she got to know the guerrillas. She was impressed by the fighting men and women and wanted to join them.

At this time a spectacular attack on a police station took place in Mako. Ronahî Deniz, a fighter of the "Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan" (Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistanê - PJAK) was killed. Thereupon Berîvan decided to take to the mountains. She set off and reached a guerrilla group. She stayed there for three months and was sent to the Kelareş area. The paramilitary Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) attacked the position and Berîvan was captured with two other new guerrilla fighters.

Resistance against torture

Berîvan recalls those times: "When we fell into the hands of the enemy, we were still wearing civilian clothes. The Pasdaran attacked us. We were tortured by the Pasdaran who had arrested us. In custody we were interrogated and asked why we had joined the guerrilla, and tortured further. The psychological pressure was immense."

Berîvan Hêjar resisted the violence of the police: "I had just joined the guerrilla and was very young. But still I didn't give the enemy any answers. Because my comrades were killed next to me, and this aroused in me a great anger against Iranian fascism. I felt a great connection with the guerrilla and I took an example from the resistance of Shirin Elemhuli. I knew how she had resisted the most severe torture. That gave me great strength. I said to myself: 'If she resisted and endured all this, then so can I'. "And whatever came, I never gave in to the enemy."

It was after six months that her family was notified

Berîvan was then taken to the Nisvan women's prison near Urmia and was held there in a cell together with other political prisoners. There she was tortured further. Berîvan remembers: "When they took me to interrogation, I was tied hand and foot. I did not know where they took me. They tortured a young person next to me so badly that she screamed: 'Stop beating, stop torturing'. Her strength was not enough against fascism. Then they dragged me to where the young woman was and told the torturer: 'Find out how the women go into the mountains, their ways, make them testify. The Pasdaran commander kept hitting me. I kept answering him: ‘I went to the mountains because of your torture, your repression. I have the right to defend my country and my people’. Naturally, they took this as an opportunity to torture me further. They grabbed me by the hair and threw me back and forth. In Iran political prisoners are tortured very heavily. There is constant rape, electric shocks, pressurized water and similar practices. For six months my family never heard from me at all."

Back to the mountains after release from prison

After six months Berîvan was brought before a revolutionary court and was to be sentenced to death. Because of her young age, the sentence could not be applied and she was transferred to the Juvenile Court. There she was sentenced to two years imprisonment. The experiences in the regime's prison had a great influence on Berîvan. Immediately after her release she wanted to go to the mountains.

She tells: "It was very difficult for me to be in the hands of the enemy as a prisoner. I could not accept it. I was also impatient and wanted to avenge the fallen. That is why I wanted to take to the mountains immediately after my release. After my release I contacted the guerrillas again and joined them. I wanted to walk the path of my fallen comrades and take revenge for them. Therefore, I will remain connected to this life until the end and continue to immerse myself in the philosophy of Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan].

“The youth should join the struggle”

Berîvan appeals to the youth in Mako: "Guerrilla life is very nice for me. I am happy that I have joined. We are constantly educating ourselves here. I do not bow to the family or the system. I call on all young people in Rojhilat and Mako not to break with the hopelessness of life, not to kill themselves, but to participate in life here. I address to all women of my tribe, they should not accept a life as slaves. They should assert their will as women and take up the philosophy of Rêber Apo. Only in this way can they take steps towards freedom."