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Witness Statement: Shahram Rafizadeh

Shahram Rafizadeh is a poet, investigative journalist and blogger. On September 7, 2004, Rafizadeh was arrested allegedly because of his writings for Gooya News and Emrooz, two well-known reformist websites. He was held in solitary confinement for 73 days in an unknown detention facility. In this witness statement, Rafizadeh describes formation of parallel intelligence agencies, his arrest and mistreatment in prison, and his forced confession.

 

Full Name: Shahram Rafizadeh

Date of Birth: September 11, 1970

Place of Birth: Gilan, Iran

Occupation: Journalist and Poet

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: September 12, 2008.

Interviewer: Habib Rahiab

Witnesses: None

 

This statement was prepared pursuant to a telephonic interview with Mr. Shahram Rafizadeh. The statement consists of 52 paragraphs and 12 pages. The interview was conducted on September 12, 2008. The statement was approved by Mr. Rafizadeh on February 26, 2009.

 

Witness Statement

Preface

1. My name is Shahram Rafizadeh. I was born in Gilan and I recently celebrated my 38th birthday. I studied mathematics, but in reality I am a poet. In 1993-94, I started my work in publishing and editing, and in 1996-97, I began my career as a journalist. My first job as a journalist was working for Iran Javan. I worked in the poetry and literary section. I also spent some time working for the cultural section of Iranian newspapers.

2. After the Chain Murders in 2000, I began engaging in political journalism and coauthored a book with Nima Tamadon about assassinations in Iran. This book examines the history of assassinations in Iran. Later I wrote three books regarding the Chain Murders. The first volume was entitled The Power Game and received permission for publication from the Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance. But the next two volumes, which were entitled Power Game and The Death of Power didn’t receive permission for publication.

3. I was arrested in 2004 by the Parallel Intelligence Apparatus and charged with blogging and writing articles for websites such as Gooya News and Emrooz, both of which are reformist sites. I was detained for 86 days, 73 of which were spent in solitary confinement. I spent the last 13 days in Evin Prison. I was finally released after seven or eight court sessions which convened in Mortazavi’s office. In 2005, I left Iran and am currently a resident of Toronto.

What is the Parallel Intelligence Apparatus?

 

4. “Parallel Intelligence Apparatus” is a term which appeared during the reformist period and referred to a collection of intelligence and security government agencies which were under the control of the conservatives and operated outside the jurisdiction of the government of Mr. Khatami. The term “Parallel Intelligence Apparatus” entered the political lexicon around 1997-98, and political activists began to acknowledge its existence after witnessing the operations of the intelligence and security agencies.

5. The Parallel Intelligence Apparatus (PIA) began its operations after it was revealed that [at least some of] those responsible for the Chain Murders were connected to the Ministry of Intelligence, resulting in the purging of several rightwing elements within the ministry. The Intelligence Protection Organization of the Revolutionary Guards, the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Law Enforcement Forces and the Intelligence Protection Center of the Judiciary (in cooperation with Judge Mortazavi and several writers connected to Kayhan newspaper) composed the principal administrators of the PIA. Individuals within this apparatus worked according to their area of specialization. For example, the investigative interrogators were mainly educated intelligence operatives from the Ministry of Intelligence; Kayhan employees provided the political direction to the interrogators; and Tehran’s Prosecutor and individuals within the Judiciary who were allied with the previous groups provided legal cover for the unlawful actions of the PIA.

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Tagged as:

Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination