The screening of Nobel Peace Laureate Narges Mohammadi's documentary in Oslo on Wednesday once again underscored the prevalent use of solitary confinement in Iranian prisons.

Titled "White Torture," the documentary, showcased at an event organized by the Nobel Foundation, illuminated the isolation techniques employed in Iranian prisons to break prisoners and highlights the plight of political detainees enduring prolonged periods of solitary confinement, as recounted by Mohammadi's interviews.

Initially screened online by human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, in November 2021, the documentary has since been presented in numerous cities worldwide.

Mohammadi, who herself endured four periods of solitary confinement, denounces it as a "cruel and inhumane punishment." In her book, "White Torture: Interviews with Iranian Women Prisoners," she vows to tirelessly advocate for its abolition.

The outspoken rights defender who is currently serving a 12-year sentence has also written a book entitled White Torture: Interviews with Iranian Women Prisoners “I will not rest until it is abolished,” she said in her book.

Ali and Kiana Rahmani, children of Narges Mohammadi, an imprisoned Iranian human rights activist, hold the Nobel Peace Prize 2023 award, accepting it on behalf of their mother at Oslo City Hall, Norway December 10, 2023.

Originally published in London in 2022, Mohammadi's book, a two-volume anthology featuring interviews with fellow inmates, has been translated into English, Swedish, German, and French.

To mark the release of her book White Torture in France, Le Monde sent Mohammadi questions via an underground network of activists. Two weeks later, Mohammadi’s answers to the questions were received.

“I consider the practice of ‘white torture,’ in other words incarceration in solitary confinement by the government, to be unjust and brutal. The solitary confinement cell is the ‘mother’ of all executions in Iran,” she told Le Monde.

“In the course of my work on human rights and against the death penalty, I have learned that many of those executed, were subjected to the physical, mental and psychological torture of incarceration in solitary confinement. They made false confessions which then formed the basis, unlawful, of their death sentence,” The outspoken campaigner against the death penalty added.

The families and lawyers of several of the nine Woman, Life, Freedom protesters executed by the regime since December 2022, have alleged that the victims were subjected to various physical and psychological tortures including solitary confinement to make false confessions against themselves which were then used as proof of their “crimes” and eventual execution.

The torture-induced confessions of protesters including Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard were shown on state television even before their trials were held.

White torture, in the sense used by Mohammadi, is different from white room torture, another form of psychological torture technique aimed at complete sensory deprivation and isolation that can lead to hallucinations and psychosis.

In the latter form, which has also been employed in the prisons of the Islamic Republic, the prisoner is held for long stretches of time in a soundproofed cell with white walls and no windows, given white clothing and food such as rice, and is often deprived from sleep. Amir-Abbas Fakhravar, then a freelance journalist, was subjected to this kind of torture at Evin Prison for eight months in 2004.

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