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Witness Statement: Shahram Rafizadeh

35. Usually, during the torture sessions they turned on an air ventilator that created a dreadful sound. This machine was located above the cells. The machine’s loud noise doubled the prisoners’ physical and psychological anguish and drove them insane. How long can a person listen to a grating noise? Five minutes? Ten minutes? An hour? But this noise continued on for eighteen hours straight. During this time the prisoners couldn’t communicate. They wouldn’t hear each others’ voices. This noise also drowned out the groaning of the detainees during their torture sessions.

36. For a while I didn’t even know why I had been arrested, until I realized that most of the detainees were bloggers, information technology employees and website designers. Some of the others had been arrested and detained because they had reproduced and published banned books. I was the only one among them who had actually written articles on bogs. This is how I discovered that they had arrested me for my blogging activities.

Interrogation Sessions


37. During the first 30 to 40 days, the interrogation and torture continued nonstop. I spent most of this time in the interrogation room. They didn’t allow me to return to my cell. They wanted to beat me up, whip me and torment me so I would break and surrender. The physical torture continued until I broke. As soon as I broke, the frequency of torture lessened, and the interrogations shifted to bargaining over what I should confess to either verbally or in writing. I think it was during the 26th and 27th day that I finally submitted to the interrogators and could no longer resist. I stayed there for 73 days. Afterwards, they transferred me to Section 240 of Evin Prison, which was under the control of the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Judiciary.

38. Our detention facility had two sections. One was an administrative section and the other a detention facility. The administrative section was located on the right side, and hidden from view with curtains. The only way to enter the detention facility was to go through this administrative area. On the left side there were two rooms which were separated by an iron door. A narrow hallway passed between them. On each side of the corridor there were nine solitary cells, each measuring a meter and a half long and a meter wide. The cells were so small that you couldn’t turn around inside them. If you were facing one way and wanted to turn around, you had to walk backwards. A green light was located outside the cell. The cell itself was dark, and the light outside was not strong enough to brighten the hallway. (The light in the hallway was changed after the detainees complained that it was too dark.) The top half of the cells had a window which was covered by iron bars. [The door] had a small slot which was used to deliver food.

39. The interrogation rooms were at the end of a narrow hallway. There were six of these rooms. The walls of these rooms were covered with white film that prevented those inside the interrogation room from seeing individuals on the outside. Individuals who were outside the interrogation rooms could, however, observe and monitor the actions of the detainees. There was a table inside the interrogation room with a telephone on top. They sometimes allowed us to use the telephone to contact our family members. But we knew that our conversations were being recorded. I was only able to communicate with my family during 4 of the 73 days which I spent in solitary confinement.

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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