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Witness Statement: Shahram Rafizadeh

9. The Office of Supreme Leader has its own Intelligence Protection Organization which is headed by an individual by the name of Hijazi.

10. The PIA was not a unified or official intelligence organization – it was a coalition. Different intelligence agencies that were engaged in the struggle against the reformists were part of this coalition. I have yet to come across an official document indicating that the PIA was established pursuant to the orders of the Supreme Leader or the head of one of the intelligence agencies within the government. Notwithstanding its collective makeup, the PIA operated in a systematic, coordinated and strategic manner.

11. For example, the PIA held regular sessions in the detention facilities in which I was imprisoned. We heard the sounds of numerous vehicles that came and parked there. After these sessions ended, we knew that important decisions had been made about our case files. The interrogators would ask us new questions and we realized that they wished to take our cases in a different direction.

12. The PIA’s [regular] interrogators were often not as educated, trained, or experienced as those linked to the Ministry of Intelligence. Their method of extracting confessions usually required torturing detainees. The interrogators asked predetermined questions and expected the detainees to give answers consistent with their wishes. If the detainee failed to provide the preferred answer, the interrogators would attack and beat them. Often times [they simply acknowledged the obvious: “This is what we want. You have to either say it or write it down.”

13. Interrogations conducted by the PIA were not based on logic but on acting out a scripted scenario. When they managed to break the detainee, they’d calmly tell him “we want you to play your role in [our] scenario.”

14. For example they told me “we’ve caught you – you have security-related charges. We will use you for a political purpose. If you confess to what we designated exactly as it appears in the scenario and you play the role, you will be released. Otherwise, you will stay here and rot.” Explicitly, bluntly and shamelessly they told me “we have bigger goals that are not limited to you. We caught you due to your work experience.” Then they listed the special reasons that showed how I fit into their scenario, such as my work and family situation and my social and political backgrounds.

15. PIA activity has apparently decreased in Tehran. This decrease does not, however, indicate the end of the PIA. In fact, the PIA is in the process of replicating its history of success against the reformists in Tehran in other cities. Most of the activities of the PIA are currently concentrated in insecure areas such as Sistan- Baluchistan, the Kurdish areas, and southern areas populated by ethnic Arabs.

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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