Sima Moradbeigi, a 26-year-old woman from Bukan, West Azerbaijan province, fearlessly marched with other protesters throughout the streets of the Kurdish city on October 13, 2022, clinging to the hope of a revolution.
She repeatedly evaded the bullets unleashed by security forces, and when she was finally shot, she refused to surrender.
An officer showed no mercy as he aimed at Moradbeigi’s right hand and pulled the trigger, inflicting a searing pain on his victim that still echoes in her voice and fuels her anger.
She has a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter who has witnessed her mother's prolonged suffering.Like countless Iranian women, Moradbeigi embodies the relentless pursuit of freedom. As the protests erupted in her city, she stood resolute, convinced that this time a revolution was within grasp.
Moradbeigi, her husband Sina and women comrades marched forward, united by a shared yearning for liberation.She recounts the heart-wrenching loss of a 10-year-old girl in Amirabad village on October 13 — a voice silenced forever.
This tragedy reminds her of this brave soul who defiantly cried out against the security forces from a rooftop, only to be cut down by bullets.
A month after the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini sparked nationwide protests, Moradbeigi took to the streets alongside her husband and other demonstrators. Before the crowd fully formed, they found themselves surrounded from all directions.
"Bullets rained down upon us. My husband was ahead of me as we were making our way through the crowd. I stopped for a moment in front of the old hospital in Bukan with the intention to call out to Sina. Suddenly, I saw a gun pointed at my hand," Moradbeigi told IranWire.
"I assumed it was meant to intimidate me rather than hurting me, but then it fired. I collapsed immediately, with blood pouring from my hand. As I lifted my head, I saw the assailant searching for something in his pocket. I clenched my severed hand, which was held together by the skin, and managed to flee."
Moradbeigi eventually reached a familiar shop. The shopkeepers rushed to her aid and tied her hand with a shawl.
As her consciousness began to fade, Sina arrived by her side. They hesitated to seek medical help in a hospital.
As the bleeding persisted, they visited a doctor who said Moradbeigi’s hand had no pulse and prescribed immediate hospitalisation.
"We tried to go to a hospital, but we were told it was occupied by soldiers. We sought refuge in a clinic. Shattered bones fell from my hand. Despite their efforts, they couldn't stem the bleeding. We had no choice but to proceed to another hospital. Whatever obstacles we encountered along the way, I was unable to react," Moradbeigi recounted.
The young woman was transferred to Bukan Hospital, where her relatives and friends surrounded her bed to prevent anyone from taking her away. Yet, the hospital staff refused to admit her for treatment, insisting that she be removed from the premises.
"This woman is on the brink of death," a tearful nurse whispered.
In a compassionate act, this nurse secretly administered morphine to Moradbeigi as blood continued to flow from her hand.
She was eventually sent to a private hospital in the city of Urmia, where a compassionate young doctor made the courageous decision to admit the young woman despite the objections of security officers.
To avoid suspicion, Moradbeigi’s hospital file says she was the victim of a motorcycle accident.
Three bags of blood were transfused into her weakened body ahead of surgery.
She spoke about the “excruciating pain” she felt at that moment: “Every passing minute felt like a hundred deaths.”
Moradbeigi underwent two surgeries, with the doctor consistently saying that her hand might have to be amputated.
The infection that had developed in her hand gradually subsided, but the elbow joint was no longer there.
Medics said that approximately 300 pellets were lodged in her hand, and they managed to extract roughly 100 of them.
After her discharge from the hospital, Moradbeigi sought refuge with a relative. The family learned that security forces ransacked her house and kept her workplace under surveillance. The security forces contacted the family multiple times, demanding her surrender in exchange for their safety.
"We hurriedly gathered ourselves, consumed by fear. I had to leave my daughter behind momentarily as we huddled together, collecting our belongings, unsure of what lay ahead," Moradbeigi said.
Overwhelmed by anger and sadness, her breathing during the interview with IranWire became laboured. After a while, she gathered her strength to continue, saying, "They brought my daughter."
For five months, they remained in Urmia, but the infection in Moradbeigi’s hand resurfaced, accompanied by fever and excruciating pain.
The compassionate nurse who had previously administered morphine to the young woman came to her aid once again, providing her with morphine and serums.
As security forces persistently contacted her family and friends, Moradbeigi and her husband on April 11 made the heart-wrenching decision to leave Iran.
"I didn't want to leave Iran. I had a good life, but they didn’t let us. I couldn't give up. My three-and-a-half-year-old daughter endured immense trauma. After a month, she barely ate one meal every three days. Nights and days were filled with unbearable hardships," Moradbeigi said.
Many of their friends and relatives disagreed with their decision to depart from the country.
"I would respond by asking, ‘Is the problem greater than my daughter's inability to receive a proper education?...I couldn't attend university myself, but I want my daughter to have the opportunity to learn and flourish."
With her hand immobilised in a splint, Moradbeigi, her husband and their child anxiously await relocation to a country where they hope she will receive the medical treatment she desperately needs.