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Witness Statement: Shahram Rafizadeh

30. I was blindfolded. They handcuffed and dragged me to a chair. A low voice asked me, “Do you know where you are?” I said, “No.” The voice said, “[You are] in the miracle room.” I grinned. “The Miracle Room” was the name of one of the articles I had written. It wasn’t long until a bunch of people started punching and kicking me. I was blindfolded, and couldn’t see how many they were. I don’t know how long it lasted. After they beat me, I fell unconscious for some time. They carried me to the restroom. They sprayed water on my face and I regained consciousness. I washed my face and I noticed that my nose was bleeding. When I washed my nose in the bathroom, my entire hand was covered in blood.

31. During these continuous interrogations, I was constantly beaten up. The interrogations never let up. They were conducted at all hours, all the time. They always wanted me to give in to their demands and act out the written script they had prepared for me. Sometimes during the interrogations they would push my forehead into the wall. They smashed my head against the wall a couple of times. I screamed from the pain but they wanted me to submit to their demands. During these torture sessions, anything could have happened to me. I could lose an eye. My nose could break, or I could have suffered from breathing complications as a result of the repeated blows to my head and forehead. They had slapped and punched my face so many times that my face had gone numb.

32. Physical beatings did not only include punching and kicking. Once they smashed a wash bowl that was in the interrogation room on my head. On other occasions they whipped my back and feet with cable wires. When I resisted, they whipped me all over – on my on my back, butt, and legs – all the way down to my heels. I don’t know how many times they whipped me. It varied. Sometimes they hit me ten times, sometimes twenty or thirty, and other times more. There were short pauses between the torture sessions, during which the interrogators asked more questions. If they didn’t get the answer they wanted, the torture continued.

33. Emotional torture regularly accompanied physical torture. The emotional torture varied, usually beginning with threats to me and ending with threats against my family. For example, they threatened to arrest my father and torture him in my presence, or they said that I have an adorable family and that I shouldn’t do anything to lose them for good. Anything was possible. They threatened to kill my family in a planned traffic accident – hundreds of traffic accidents happen in Tehran every day. This could have been just another one of them. But the worst threats were directed against my wife. They said, “We will arrest and bring your wife here, and you know what will happen to her next.” The thought sent shivers down my spine. They were savages, and capable of anything.

34. When I collapsed from the physical and psychological torture, they said, “Take him away until he comes to again.” When I regained composure, the whole thing would start all over again. The beatings, the cable wires, the insults and threats – they started again, but this time with more viciousness.

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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