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Witness Statement: Shahram Rafizadeh

40. On one end of the [interrogation] room there was a video camera which was turned off when the detainee was being tortured. I only became aware of all these deceitful activities after I had been broken and forced to confess. My interrogators asked me questions for hours on end – sometimes for 5 to 6 hours. During this time the camera was turned on, but as soon as things got a little heated they would turn it off. The camera was also turned off when I was forced to engage in those unbearable free writing sessions.

41. Those who interrogated us usually had fake names. We were never able to determine their real identities.

42. I wore the same clothes during the entire duration of my detention. My outfit consisted of a short-sleeved shirt with pants and an undershirt. My clothes were extremely dirty, and I asked the custodian to allow me to wash my clothes. Only once did they allow me to wash and dry them in my solitary cell.

43. They allowed us to use the restroom (and conduct ablutions [for daily prayer]) three times a day. These visits were very short and lasted for about 3 minutes. They required us to perform the ablutions every time.

44. In the bathroom there was a disconnected washing machine which was apparently used to eavesdrop on the conversations of detainees (in those rare instances where several detainees were allowed to use the restroom at the same time).

Forced Confessions


45. The free writings were, in fact, a way to trap the detainees. They were the first documents used against the accused. The interrogators questioned each sentence written and posed new questions based on the answers we provided. They questioned every aspect of our lives, and ruthlessly violated our personal and private space. Then they used the information they gathered to defame us. Most detainees broke during this period, and gave into the wicked schemes designed by the interrogators. For example, they usually asked us if we knew a particular person of the opposite sex. If you say “no,” they torture you. If you say “yes,” they have you because such an admission is the beginning of your troubles – it ultimately leads to a false accusation regarding an illicit sexual relationship. After that they tell you that they prefer not to expose your sexual relationship, but that they will only do so if you agree to play your role in their scenario. In this way, free writings and the questions that accompany them led the way to the specific charges against you.

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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