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Witness Statement: Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir



21. I understand what he was saying as I was interrogated in a similar way. I had been arrested five times before and each time I was held in secret prisons like Prison 59 and mistreated in those locations for months. But none of those locations were as horrible as Khatam. I was held in Khatam for one month and in one month my hair turned gray. Khatam was the worst of all the secret prisons I have ever been in. The interrogators crush you until you believe you are not a human being anymore and not worth a penny.

22. Three investigators were interrogating me at one time. One of them was usually standing behind me, the second sat right in front of me, while the third one moved around the table and shouted, insulted and cursed me. They wanted to humiliate me, demoralize me, and destroy any shred of dignity I possessed. In a word, they wanted to “break” me. I was especially afraid of the man who stood behind me. I was afraid he would hit me at any time. He was a strong, fat man. He often shouted and intimidated me and told me if I didn’t confess, I would be severely tortured.

23. When I was taken into Khatam, my main interrogator, who was a fat and strong man and was respected by other guards, asked me if I knew where I was. I told him I was at a center that belonged to the police. He said I was wrong. He told me it was Towhid No. Two. Towhid was the name of a dangerous secret prison that Khatami’s government had shut down. He told me it was the “Second Towhid.” He wanted to scare me by implying that there was no rule of law here, no accountability; they were operating above the law and they could do anything. they wanted to me. They were not accountable to any authority. He told me that “[H]ere we will skin you alive.”

24. Khatam was unlike any other prisons I was in. Whenever I was taken outside my cell, I was blindfolded. Without being blindfolded, I was not allowed to step into the corridor. When I was taken for interrogation, I was blindfolded. When I wanted to use the restroom, I was blindfolded. I was not allowed to have any item with me inside the room. Even my blindfold was taken back from me every time I entered my room.

25. After some time in Khatam, I was made to watch how the investigators were beating other prisoners. The prisoners were miserably asking for mercy but they were still beating them. It was a very horrible scene. It was killing me. They were threatening me if I did not cooperate I would be tortured similarly.

26. On the first night I was taken for interrogation, the first question I was asked was why I had called other students to join the demonstration. I delayed answering, and then I refused to answer his question. The fat interrogator got up from his chair. When he got behind me, he punched me so hard that my head crashed into the wall. I was not expecting it. Everything turned dark for a while. I was not able to see anything. Then he told me that here was the place where I should talk. If I did not, I would be cut into pieces. Then he lifted me up in the air with his strong hands and wanted to throw me at the wall, but he didn’t. Two or three other investigators were watching us. They did not object. I was handed paper and instructed to write answers to questions about my group, my personal relations with the West and foreign groups, getting money from the West, and my political and social activities in the universities, newspapers, and political and social groups.

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Tagged as:

Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment