Home | English | Publications | Witness Testimony | Witness Statement: Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir

Witness Statement: Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir

13. After 20 days of solitary confinement, I was taken out for the first time to smell fresh air in Khatam. I noticed that Khatam was a big compound that had many huge trees. Then I realized why I was hearing birds singing in the morning.

14. Khatam is a secret prison located in a residential complex that belongs to the Iran Police Force, NAJA, on Seoul Street in north Tehran. The prison has 10 solitary cells on two sides of a narrow corridor that leads to the interrogation room, restroom and bathroom. The interrogation room is small with a table set right in front of the entrance door.

15. Actually I did not know the name of this prison was Khatam. When I got out of the prison, I did research to find out where I was held and found out that I was in a secret prison located in Khatam military base. Therefore, I call it Khatam prison.

16. Khatam was not made for political prisoners. It was made for smugglers and those who were charged with moral crimes. It was a very dangerous place. I saw prisoners tortured, beaten, and mistreated there. At least 10 people were beaten besides me. When I was in the cell, I heard people shouting because they were being tortured. I knew someone from my neighborhood that was beaten with an electric baton for two weeks to get him to confession.

17. I had heard that Mr. Pourzand was held in Police Intelligence Service detention, but nobody knew where. Some newspapers wrote that he was in Amaken because of his meeting with his sister, but actually he was not in the Amaken, it was just a cover place to confuse people. Amaken is a well-known place and usually is not used for security and political purposes. When I got to Khatam prison, I knew I was in the place that Mr. Pourzand was in, especially when a prisoner in the front cell told me he had seen Mr. Pourzand there.

18. I had heard before that Mr. Pourzand had disappeared and I knew that around 20 writers, intellectuals and journalists had been imprisoned in undisclosed locations. For instance, I knew that Mohammad Ali Safari, a well-known defense lawyer who defended many students after the attack on the university dormitory, (including me) was among those who were summoned by the PIA in Amaken. Mohammad Masoud Salamti, Hashmatullah Tabarzadi, Parviz Safari, and Siamak Pourzand were some well-known people who were summoned by the PIA. So when I got into Khatam prison I was trying to find other familiar people.

19. I saw two other people imprisoned in Khatam. One was an Afghan who was charged with having a sexual relationship with an Iranian girl and the second one was a man from Kermanshah. I call him Kermanshahi. He was charged with smuggling antiques. It was a very serious charge. Kermanshahi was a nice and very well-informed man about Iranian politics. He knew many Iranian writers and intellectuals (I know his name but because of security concerns I don’t want you to write his name). When I introduced myself, to my surprise he said he knew me. He had read about me in the newspaper and heard about me in radio interviews. We became friends and he told me about Pourzand and how he was mistreated in Khatam.

20. It was Kermanshahi who told me that Pourzand was in Khatam a week before I got there. He told me about how badly poor Pourzand was mistreated there. Kermanshahi said that Pourzand was severely mistreated in Khatam-ul Anbiya. The interrogators were insulting him, abusing him, and making him stand with his arms raised, facing the wall for hours and hours. He was weak and could not bear this pressure. His waist was aching and he was asking for mercy but the interrogators were pressuring him further and made him to stand even longer. He was interrogated for hours and hours and during interrogation, the authorities were insulting him. He was told that if he did not cooperate, they would blackmail him and threatened to charge him with sex offenses. He was made to sweep the prison. He was under huge pressure. He wanted to take his life and attempted to commit suicide. According to Karmanshahi, Pourzand was badly mistreated in Khatam. The interrogators, however, promised him if he cooperated he would be released.

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »
  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment