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Witness Statement: Shahram Rafizadeh

21. In Iran, investigating the [existence] secret detention centers is dangerous business. Even though semi-independent outlets provided patchy reports regarding the existence of a series of secret detention facilities during Khatami’s time, those who persistently followed up on this issue paid a hefty price. An example is Alizadeh, a conservative person and one of the renowned religious figures who was responsible for the large scale closures of newspapers and the silencing of journalists in 2000, was demoted for investigating the case of secret prisons.

Why did they Arrest Me?


22. My interrogators told me that arrests are made after an investigative committee conducts investigations, analyzes case files and reaches conclusions in light of the organization’s larger political goals. I don’t know what factors they take into account but I am certain that these methods exist.

23. I had written three books in early 2001 (which I previously referred to) which included sharp criticism, but I was arrested on September 7, 2004. I kept asking myself why I was arrested then, especially because I had not written even one article during the ten moths prior [to my arrest]. They (members of the PIA) knew that I had not written anything [in months]. I had not written anything because I had really grown tired of Khatami’s reformist promises. Not only had I lost hope, but I was certain that Khatami was not committed to the reform movement and that his slogans were nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

24. The day I was arrested I was working at the newspaper’s office. One of my colleagues said that someone had come to talk to me. When I went down, I saw a young guy waiting for me. He didn’t look like a Hizbullahi.1 When we sat to talk, he showed me a summons. I looked at the date on the summons, and realized that it had expired. I complained and informed him that the summons indicated that I should go to the Amaken office on September 5th at 3:30 p.m. The young man apologized and said it was an unintentional mistake. He then told me to go to Amaken’s office at 8:30 the next day. I accepted. He said goodbye and left.

1 Hizbullahi is a generic term used to describe individuals either loosely or directly affiliated with Islamist pressure groups (i.e. Ansar-i Hizbullah or the Basij) or government agencies such as the Law Enforcement Forces.

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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