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Azadeh v. Government of Islamic Republic of Iran

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 13, 2018

ASFANEH AZADEH, Plaintiff,
v.
GOVERNMENT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, et al., Defendants. Summary of Damages

          KETANJI BROWN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM OPINION ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          G. MICHAEL HARVEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On July 18, 2016, Plaintiff Asfaneh Azadeh commenced this tort action against Defendants the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (collectively “Defendants”) for the “uncontested and inhumane atrocities she suffered during the three months she spent wrongfully imprisoned in an Iranian jail.” Azadeh v. Gov't of Islamic Republic of Iran, 16-cv-1467, 2018 WL 3381306, at *1 (D.D.C. July 11, 2018). Currently pending before this Court is Azadeh's renewed motion for a default judgment against Defendants and also Magistrate Judge Michael Harvey's Report and Recommendation regarding that motion. (See Pl.'s Renewed Mot. for Default J., ECF Nos. 13 & 40; Report and Recommendation (“R & R”), ECF No. 27.) Because Azadeh has successfully effected service upon Defendants in accordance with section 1608(a) of Title 28 of the United States Code, this Court now has the personal jurisdiction and subject-matter jurisdiction necessary to consider both the merits of Azadeh's claims and the Magistrate Judge's recommendations. See Azadeh, 2018 WL 3381306, at *1.

         In his comprehensive Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Harvey evaluated the undisputed and harrowing facts that Azadeh established, and he concluded that Defendants are liable for assaulting, battering, falsely imprisoning, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress upon Azadeh. (See R & R at 33-38.) Magistrate Judge Harvey also addressed the damages that should be awarded to Azadeh, concluding that Plaintiff is entitled to the following: $13, 028, 889 for her pain and suffering; $5, 176, 733 for her economic damages; and $18, 205, 622 for her punitive damages; for a total damages award of $36, 411, 244. (Id. at 52; see also Id. at 38-52.) The Report and Recommendation also advises the parties that, “failure to file timely objections to the findings and recommendations set forth in this report may waive [the parties'] right of appeal from an order of the District Court that adopts such findings and recommendations.” (Id. at 52-53); see Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985); see also Gov't of Rwanda v. Johnson, 409 F.3d 368, 376 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (“[O]bjections to magistrate rulings are forfeited absent timely challenge in the district court.”).

         Having considered these conclusions and the analysis supporting them, this Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Harvey's findings and ADOPTS his analysis and conclusions regarding the Defendants' liability and the appropriate amount of damages to be awarded to Azadeh. Consequently, consistent with the attached Report and Recommendation and as set forth in the accompanying Order, Azadeh's renewed motion for a default judgment will be GRANTED, and damages will be awarded in the amount of $36, 411, 244.

         APPENDIX A

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         This matter was referred to the undersigned for full case management. Plaintiff Afsaneh Azadeh brought this action under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act's (“FSIA”) state sponsor of terrorism exception. 28 U.S.C. § 1605A. She seeks to hold the Government of the Islamic State of Iran and the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution to account for the abuse and torment-and as the undersigned finds below, torture-that she suffered during nearly four months of detention at Iran's notorious Evin Prison in 2012.

         While at Evin Prison, Plaintiff was locked in a small, windowless cell, and subjected to daily interrogations seeking to elicit a false confession that she was an agent for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) engaging in activities against Iran. Prison officials whipped her, repeatedly hit her head against a wall, and pushed her down stairs. They subjected her to two mock executions. They drugged her and threatened to transfer to other prisons where she would be raped, tortured and never seen again. They detained her fiancé and told her that if she did not confess that he would be subjected to the same treatment she was experiencing. They also falsely told her that her mother had died after hearing news that Plaintiff had been executed. Not surprisingly, Plaintiff experienced substantial pain and suffering while she was imprisoned. She experience panic attacks, XXXXX , in a week-long hunger strike, XXXXX . Since her release, she continues to suffer the effects of her incarceration, including permanent injuries to her shoulder and head, XXXXX . In this action, she seeks an award of compensatory and punitive damages against Defendants for the physical and emotional injuries she has suffered.

         As neither Defendant filed a response to the complaint within 60 days of service as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1609(d), Plaintiff has moved for entry of a default judgment. [Dkt. 10]. After a thorough review of the record evidence, and consideration of this Court's case law adjudicating analogous actions against foreign sovereigns, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment be GRANTED, and that Plaintiff be awarded $18, 205, 622 in compensatory damages, and an equal amount of punitive damages, for a total of $36, 411, 244.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD FOR ENTRY OF A DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST A FOREIGN SOVEREIGN

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure grant district courts discretion to enter a default judgment upon a party's motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). A default judgment is normally available, as here, when “the adversary process has been halted because of an essentially unresponsive party.” Jackson v. Beech, 636 F.2d 831, 836 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (internal quotation marks omitted). The party seeking the judgment must demonstrate that the court has both subject matter jurisdiction over the action and personal jurisdiction over the absent defendant. See Thuneibat v. Syrian Arab Republic, 167 F.Supp.3d 22, 33 (D.D.C. 2016); Mwani v. bin Laden, 417 F.3d 1, 6 (D.C. Cir. 2005). Additionally, before a default judgment can be entered against a foreign sovereign, the FSIA requires a plaintiff to “establish[] his claim or right to relief by evidence satisfactory to the court.” Thuneibat, 167 F.Supp.3d at 33 (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1608(e)). A court must thoroughly review a plaintiff's allegations and evidence against an absent foreign sovereign. See Han Kim v. Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 774 F.3d 1044, 1047 (D.C. Cir. 2014); Bluth v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 203 F.Supp.3d 1, 16-17 (D.D.C. 2016). While a court “may not unquestioningly accept a complaint's unsupported allegations as true, ” Reed v. Islamic Republic of Iran, F.Supp.2d 204, 211 (D.D.C. 2012), “[u]ncontroverted factual allegations that are supported by admissible evidence are taken as true.” Thuneibat, 167 F.Supp.3d at 33; Roth v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 78 F.Supp.3d 379, 386 (D.D.C. 2015). An evidentiary hearing is not required; rather, a “plaintiff may establish proof by affidavit.” Reed, 845 F.Supp.2d at 212; see also Mwani, 417 F.3d at 7 (“In the absence of an evidentiary hearing, although the plaintiffs retain ‘the burden of proving personal jurisdiction, [they] can satisfy that burden with a prima facie showing.' . . . [T]hey may rest their argument on their pleadings, bolstered by such affidavits and other written materials as they can otherwise obtain.” (quoting Edmond v. U.S. Postal Serv. Gen. Counsel, 949 F.2d 415, 424 (D.C. Cir. 1991))). The court may also “take judicial notice of related proceedings and records in cases before the same court.” Ben-Rafael v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 540 F.Supp.2d 39, 43 (D.D.C. 2008).

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants in July 2016 under the FSIA's state sponsor of terrorism exception to foreign sovereign immunity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1605A. Plaintiff initially effected serviced on Defendants only through diplomatic channels pursuant to section 1608(a)(4), and not by first attempting service by mail pursuant to section 1608(a)(3). [Dkt. 5-1]. Specifically, Plaintiff provided translated copies of the summons, complaint and notice of suit, to the Clerk of Court for delivery by the U.S. Department of State to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Dkt. 5]. The State Department confirmed the documents were delivered to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via diplomatic channels, on January 17, 2017 under diplomatic note.[1] [Dkt. 8]. Neither Defendant filed a response within 60 days of service as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1609(d). On March 23, 2017, at Plaintiffs request, the Clerk of Court declared Defendants in default pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). [Dkt. 10; Dkt. 11].

         On April 23, 2018, citing to recent decisions from this Court that have held that service on Iran many not be perfected solely via diplomatic channels pursuant to section 1608(a)(4) and have required service to be attempted via mail pursuant to section 1608(a)(3), the undersigned ordered Plaintiff to show cause as to why her motion for default judgment should not be denied for failure of service on Defendants. [Dkt. 17]. In response. Plaintiff attempted service by mail on Defendants pursuant to section 1608(a)(3). [Dkt. 21: Dkt. 22]. The Clerk of the Court mailed translated copies of the summons, complaint, and notice of suit to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 8, 2018. [Dkt. 23]. The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused service on May 20, 2018. [Dkt. 25].

         Accordingly, the undersigned now turns to Plaintiffs motion for a default judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1608(e). [Dkt. 13]. As Plaintiffs briefing in support of her motion is comprehensive, the undersigned finds that an evidentiaiy hearing on the motion is unnecessary.[2] See Reed, F.Supp.2d at 212 (“[A] plaintiff may establish proof by affidavit.”); Kilburn v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 699 F.Supp.2d 136, 150 (D.D.C. 2010) (“In assessing the plaintiffs' evidence, this court may ‘accept as true the plaintiff's uncontroverted evidence.'” (quoting Elahi v. The Islamic Republic of Iran, 124 F.Supp.2d 97, 100 (D.D.C. 2000))). The undersigned's findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of a default judgment against both Defendants follow below.

         III. FINDINGS OF FACT

         A. Afsaneh Azadeh

         Plaintiff is a dual United States and Iranian citizen who was born in Tehran, Iran in 1969. [Dkt. 12-2, ¶ 1]. She was raised in Iran along with her five siblings. Id. She left Iran at age twenty to attend university in Paris, where she studied language and graphic design. Id. ¶ 3. After obtaining her college degree in France, Plaintiff immigrated to California in 1991, where she lived for the next thirteen years. Id. She became a United States citizen in October 2004. Id.

         In 2005, Plaintiff accepted a position at HeavyLift International (“HeavyLift”), an airplane cargo transport company based in the United Arab Emirates (“U.A.E.”). Id. ¶ 4. As a result, Plaintiff was required to relocate to Dubai. Id. Throughout her employment with HeavyLift, Plaintiff's mother lived in Tehran and Plaintiff regularly traveled from Dubai to Tehran to visit her. Id. ¶ 5. In 2010, Plaintiff was promoted to HeavyLift's General Manager and Accountable Manager. Id. ¶ 6.

         B. Plaintiff's Abduction in Iran

         In 2012, Plaintiff became engaged to a man she met in Tehran, whom she visited whenever she traveled there. Id. ¶ 7. In May 2012, Plaintiff traveled to visit her fiancé and to finalize wedding preparations. Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff arrived at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on May 13, 2012. Id. At the time of her arrival in Iran, XXXXX . Id. ¶ 7. She was kept at the airport's passport control area for fifteen minutes while an Iranian government official examined her documents, but was ultimately permitted to continue to baggage claim. Id. ¶ 9. After collecting her bags, Plaintiff proceeded to the exit, but before she was able to leave, she was surrounded by four men and one woman, all of whom were later determined by Plaintiff to be officials of Defendant Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (“the Revolutionary Guard”). Id. ¶ 10. One of the men presented Plaintiff with a document with her picture on it. Id. She was not permitted to read the document despite her request. Id. Plaintiff was told the document was a warrant for her arrest based on allegations that she “presented a danger to national security.” Id. At that point, Plaintiff's luggage and personal items were confiscated and she was blindfolded, handcuffed, and placed inside a car. Id. ¶ 11.

         During the drive, the officials demanded that Plaintiff give them the passwords to her email and electronic devices. Id. ¶ 14. When Plaintiff asked where she was being taken, one of the officials told her that she was being brought to Evin Prison. Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff became unable to catch her breath and-for the first time in her life-began to experience a panic attack. Id. ¶ 12.

         C. Plaintiff's Detention in Evin Prison

         Evin is a notoriously brutal prison located in northwestern Tehran. [Dkt. 12-2, ¶ 13; Dkt. 13-5, ¶ 19]. According to one of Plaintiff's experts, during interrogation sessions at Evin, “interrogators routinely inflict various forms of torture, physical abuse, and ill-treatment on the detainee.” [Dkt. 13-5, ¶ 28]. The prison is operated by the State Prison and Security and Corrective Measures Organization which is under the authority of the Iranian Judiciary. Id. ¶ 19. The Iranian Judiciary is part of the Iranian government and answers to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Id.

         The Revolutionary Guard is a branch of Iran's armed forces and is responsible for internal and border security. [Dkt. 12-1 at 11; Dkt. 13-5, ¶ 18]. There are certain wards of Evin Prison which are under the autonomous control of the Revolutionary Guard. [Dkt. 13-5, ¶¶ 18-19; Dkt. 12-2, ¶ 15]. Upon arriving at the prison, Plaintiff was taken to one of the cells in a section of the prison under the control of the Revolutionary Guard. [Dkt. 12-2, ¶ 15]. Plaintiff's cell was small and windowless. It was approximately 6 feet by 9 feet with high concrete walls, no electricity, and lit only through two small slits in the iron door of her cell. Id. The cell had a squat toilet in the floor and an old, dirty carpet. Id. Upon seeing her cell, Plaintiff began to have trouble breathing and experienced another panic attack. Id. ¶ 16. At that moment, she “thought [she] was going to die.” Id.

         After several hours, her repeated entreaties for help eventually prompted a prison guard to take her to an infirmary, where she was given a so-called “truth pill.” Id. The doctor told her that the pills would relax her and force her to tell the truth.[3] Id. Plaintiff would be forced to take the “truth pills” three times a day for the remainder of her detention. Id.

         Upon her arrival at Evin Prison, Plaintiff was forced to change into pink prison pajamas, an old white t-shirt, a long coat, and a chador to cover her hair and face. Id. ¶ 17. Having been forced to wear a chador, Plaintiff became concerned as to how the guards would react to her red acrylic nails. Id. XXXXX Id.

         The next morning, she was taken to the courthouse of Evin Prison and presented before a prosecutor for the Iranian government, who told her that she had been accused of working for the CIA and of helping an Iranian anti-government movement known as the Green Revolution. Id. ¶ 18. The prosecutor told Plaintiff that the punishment for spying was execution and that, “we have zero tolerance for people like you who are working for the Great Satan.”[4] Id. Plaintiff signed a paper acknowledging the charges against her, even though she continued to assert her innocence. Id. ¶ 19.

         On the second day of Plaintiff's detention, two interrogators took her to a room located underneath the prison, where she was questioned for nine hours. Id. ¶ 20. Once in the room, the interrogators again accused her of being a spy, stating “[w]e have enough documents to keep you here 10 years. And if we prove you are a spy, we will execute you.” Id. The interrogators were angry and aggressive, which caused Plaintiff to have another panic attack, after which one of the interrogators gave her a ten-minute break and some pills before continuing her questioning. Id.

         The interrogator asked her questions about her employment with HeavyLift, specifically about the company's contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide food supplies to U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Id. ¶ 21. At the time, the company had various contracts with the U.S. government, including ones with the U.S. Department of Defense to support U.S. troops. Id. The interrogator asked her about the kind of assistance her employer provided the United States. She told the interrogator that HeavyLift delivered only food supplies, but the interrogator insisted that she was a CIA agent providing some other kind of assistance on behalf of the United States. Id. It was clear to Plaintiff that they were detaining and questioning her because she worked for a company that had dealings with the U.S. government. The interrogators repeatedly demanded that she confess to things she had not done, including demanding that she identify the names and photos of various people whom she did not know. Id. ¶ 22.

         After the first week of Plaintiff's detention, the guards took her to another small, window-less cell in the prison. Id. ¶ 23. This second cell was the same size as her previous cell-6 feet by 9 feet-but it contained neither a bed nor a toilet. Id. Plaintiff slept on an insect-infested rug on the floor; insect bites frequently prevented her from being able to sleep at night and left welts on her body. Id. The cell also contained a bright blue light that was lit twenty-four hours a day, making it difficult for her to sleep. Id. Plaintiff remained in this cell for the remainder of her detention. Id.

         Plaintiff was interrogated every day for the next six weeks of her detention, often for periods of twelve hours or more. Id. ¶ 24. These interrogations would begin with a prison guard blindfolding and handcuffing Plaintiff and chaining her feet, after which the guard would force her to walk to the interrogation room. Id. Her captors regularly woke her in the middle of the night and took her to the interrogation room to ask her the same set of questions repeatedly. Id.

         During an interrogation that occurred during Plaintiff's first week of detention, the guards placed her in a chair that faced a wall. Id. ¶ 25. When the interrogator was displeased with an answer she provided, the interrogator would kick the chair, causing her face and body to strike the concrete wall in front of her. Id. During this interrogation session, Plaintiff was kicked into the wall five or six times, bloodying her face and knees and resulting in severe headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and nausea. Id.

         Approximately one week later, Plaintiff was walking slowly down a flight of stairs because of sciatic nerve pain from her beating the week before. Id. ¶ 26. Annoyed, a prison guard pushed Plaintiff, handcuffed and blindfolded, down a flight of stairs. Id. Because she was handcuffed, she could not break her fall, and her head slammed into the concrete stairs and wall and her right shoulder became dislocated. Id. Plaintiff became dizzy, experienced a headache, and was unable to stand. Id. Eventually she was taken to the infirmary and given some pain medication, but she was not treated for the underlying injuries to her head or shoulder. Id.

         On another occasion, Plaintiff was brought to an interrogation room and forced to stand against a wall. Id. ¶ 31. A man came into the room with a long whip. Id. When Plaintiff's knees began to hurt during the interrogation from standing and she tried to sit down, the man would whip her legs to prevent her from doing so. Id. He told her that he enjoyed seeing her suffer. Id. The interrogators also made comments about Plaintiff's body and attire, having found a photo of her in a bathing suit. Id. They told Plaintiff that women who wear bathing suits were worthy of being raped. Id. She was whipped twice more during the interrogation session for merely looking at the man who was whipping her. Id. The beatings resulted in large bruises all over her body. Id.

         On another occasion, shortly after eating her evening meal, Plaintiff's body became covered in a rash and she began coughing uncontrollably. Id. ¶ 32. Realizing she was having a life-threatening reaction to something she had eaten, she pleaded for help and banged on the cell door, but the prison guards ignored her. Id. Only after other prisoners began to bang on their cell doors did a prison guard come to Plaintiff's cell, by which point her breathing was labored. Id. She was taken to the infirmary, where a doctor scolded the guard for endangering Plaintiff's life. Id. The next day, her interrogator told her that Evin Prison “was not a good place to die” and that she “could avoid further harm” by giving the interrogators what they wanted. Id. For this reason, Plaintiff believes she was intentionally poisoned by prison officials. Id.

         During the third week of Plaintiff's detention, she was subjected to a mock execution. A prison guard came to her cell around midnight, blindfolded her, and told her, “[w]e are not getting anywhere with you. We will deal with you differently now.” Id. ¶ 33. She was taken to a car and driven outside the prison, where she was forced to stand up against a wall. Id. At that moment, one of her interrogators told her the government had no tolerance for “spies” like her, that she was an embarrassment as an Iranian and Muslim woman, and that she had been sentenced to die. Id. The interrogator said, “I told you to cooperate. Do you have anything to say?” Id. ¶ 34. Plaintiff was terrified and could not stop crying. She then heard men recite verses from the Qur'an that are typically recited to the dying. Id. She heard instructions being given to a firing squad to fire, after which she heard several gun shots. Id. The last thought she had was: “I am going to die and no one will know.” Id. Her life flashing before her eyes, she lost consciousness and collapsed. Id.

         XXXXX

         Plaintiff remained at the hospital for several days. Id. ¶ 36. Her captors did not allow her to have any visitors, and the hospital staff was forbidden to speak with her. Id. The interrogator who had declared her death sentence again threatened her, saying “[w]e gave you another chance to live; this is your last chance. Think it through and cooperate with us. If you don't, next time you are going to die.” Id.

         During the tenth week of Plaintiff's detention, she was subjected to a second mock execution. Id. ¶ 44. A woman came to Plaintiff's cell late at night to teach her how to pray and to recite verses from the Qur'an. Id. The woman told Plaintiff that she only had a few hours left before the guards would come take her away, and that she should pray for forgiveness. Id. Eventually, the guards arrived, blindfolded her, forced her into a car, and drove her to a location where she was made to stand up against a wall. Id. ¶ 45. Plaintiff was told by her interrogator that she would be killed if she did not confess. Id. She became frozen with grief and fear. Plaintiff heard verses being recited from the Qur'an, followed by several gun shots. Id. Plaintiff again lost consciousness, and woke up in the hospital.

         Throughout her detention, Plaintiff's captors also repeatedly subjected her to psychological abuse. Nearly every night for one month, she was forced by her interrogators to write out her life story. Id. ¶ 39. She produced lengthy written documents, only to have her interrogators tear up the statement and order her to start again. Id. At one point, an interrogator accused her of wasting his time and threatened to take her to the women's public jail or to a prison on the border of Iran and Afghanistan. Id. He told her that the female prisoners who are imprisoned there do not come back. Id. He said she would be raped, tortured, and never be seen again. Id.

         During another interrogation, an interrogator informed Plaintiff that her fiancé had been arrested, was being held at the prison, and that he had told them “everything.” Id. ¶ 27. Plaintiff was told that if she did not do the same, her fiancé would be subjected to the same treatment she was experiencing. Id. Plaintiff was heartbroken and feared for her fiancé's safety-it tormented her knowing he was being punished just for knowing her. Id. The guards then took Plaintiff past a room where officials were, in fact, holding her fiancé. Id. ¶ 28. She shouted, asking the guards why they had brought him to Evin Prison, at which point her fiancé saw her, and he too began shouting. Id. Plaintiff overheard the guards tell her fiancé that she would be stoned to death unless he confessed. Id.

         Prison officials also tormented Plaintiff by promising her the opportunity to contact her family, only to renege at the last minute. Id. ¶ 29. For example, on one occasion a guard blindfolded her and took her to an area of the prison where she could hear prisoners talking to their families, and she could tell that she was in line to use the only telephone available to inmates. Id. When it was her turn, the guard pushed her forward, but as soon as she picked up the handset, she heard her interrogator on the other end of the telephone screaming that personal calls had not been authorized for her and that she should be returned to her cell. Id. She was never permitted to speak to her family. Id. ¶ 30.

         Prison officials also falsely told Plaintiff that her mother had died upon hearing news that Plaintiff had been executed. Id. ¶ 37. Plaintiff states that, in this moment, she “lost all hope. [She] was sure God had forgotten [her], perhaps for something [she] had done. . . [She] lost all will to live.” Id.

         XXXXX .

         Plaintiff had been collecting the “truth pills” the guards had been giving her. Id. ¶ 42. While initially the guards stood over her to ensure she took the pills, as time went on they simply handed them to her and walked away. Id. Plaintiff began hiding the pills under the carpet of her cell. Id. XXXXX

         On Plaintiff's twelfth week of incarceration, the guards told her that they would release her, but only on the condition that Plaintiff's family paid collateral to ensure she did not leave the country. Id. ¶ 46. A family friend then agreed to sign over the deed to her house to secure Plaintiff's release. Id. Even then, she remained detained. Id. To protest her continued detention, Plaintiff staged a hunger strike. Id. She lasted a week before prison officials took her to the infirmary and began an intravenous drip of sugar water. Id.

         D. Plaintiff's Release from Evin Prison

         On September 2, 2012, Plaintiff's interrogators dictated a confession, which Plaintiff wrote and signed because she “could no longer tolerate the torture of being held in Evin Prison.” Id. ¶ 47. In it, Plaintiff falsely confessed to being a CIA agent and to engaging in activities against Iran. Id. Afterwards, Plaintiff was returned her clothes and taken back to the infirmary where she was examined and weighed by a doctor. Id. ¶ 48. During her four months in Evin Prison, she had lost twenty-five pounds. Id.

         Plaintiff was then blindfolded and driven to a location where her mother and brother were waiting for her. Id. ¶ 49. She could not stop crying when she saw them. Id. As a condition of her release, she was placed under house arrest for two months until her next court date. Id. ¶ 50. Officials told her that they had sufficient evidence to send Plaintiff to prison for 12 years. Id.

         Plaintiff spent the days after her release secluded in a room in her mother's home. Id. ¶ 51; [Dkt. 12-3, ¶¶ 21-22]. While she wanted to reconnect with people, she was physically and emotionally incapable of doing so. Voices were terrifying to her, as were lights, noises, ...


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