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Witness Statement: Mohsen Sazegara

Mohsen Sazegara is a political analyst, writer and a founder of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who later supported Iranian student demands for reform. In this witness statement, he describes his experiences in Evin Prison, including interrogations, lengthy periods of solitary confinement and a hunger-strike

 

Full Name: Mohsen Sazegara

Date of Birth: January 5, 1955

Place of Birth: Tehran, Iran

Occupation: Political activist and one of the founders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: February 14, 2008; September 26, 2008

Interviewer: Habib Rahiab

Witnesses: None

 

This statement was prepared pursuant to in-person interviews with Mr. Mohsen Sazegara, The statement consists of 37 paragraphs and 8 pages. The interviews were conducted on February 14, 2008 and September 26, 2008. The statement was approved by Mr. Sazegara on November 10, 2008.

 

Witness Statement

 

How Did the Parallel Intelligence Agency Take Form?

 

1. The Chain Murders occurred during the presidency of Mr. Khatami presidency and Mr. Dorri-Najafabadi was removed from his post at the Ministry of Intelligence. Khatami had the opportunity to replace him with Younesi, who was a reformist. The Ministry of Intelligence approved and accepted Younesi.

2. After the Chain Murders and the arrival of Younesi, Khamenei’s influence in the Ministry of Intelligence diminished. He wanted an intelligence organization that unconditionally operated under his direct supervision, especially when it came to confronting the reformists and journalists.

3. For example, during a meeting between Mr. Khameni and Younesi, Khamenei spoke regarding the threat from members of the Nationalist-Religious party and indicated that these individuals planned to overthrow the regime. Mr. Younesi explained that the Ministry of Intelligence had gathered significant information on the Nationalist-Religious party and was aware of all of their activities. He indicated the information was collected pursuant to the wiretapping of meetings (and private telephones) of important members of the party. Younesi disagreed with Mr. Khamenei’s view, reasoning that experts in the Ministry of Intelligence believe that the Nationalist-Religious party did not intend to overthrow the regime.

4. This event (along with others) caused Mr. Khamenei to establish an independent intelligence organization under his supervision. This organization apparently operates under the guise of the Intelligence Protection Center of the Judiciary. In the beginning, this organization lacked its own facilities. Sometimes it would use the underground facilities of the Amaken office in order to summon regime opponents, reformists, artists, actors and journalists. Divisions within the intelligence offices of the Revolutionary Guards, the Judiciary, units from the public prosecutor’s office (most of whom were colleagues of Mr. Asadollah Lajevardi, the former prosecutor of the Islamic Republic) and right-wing factions expelled from the Ministry of Intelligence all came together and established the parallel intelligence apparatus (PIA). The PIA operated directly under the authority of the Supreme Leader.

5. The PIA had a chief executive by the name of Elias Mahmoudi, who headed the Intelligence Protection Center of the Judiciary. But Mahmoudi was nothing more than a figurehead. The PIA operated pursuant to a secret council that was directly accountable to the Supreme Leader. Asqar Hijazi, who was responsible for managing the Intelligence Protection Office of the Supreme Leader, and Morteza Reza’i, who later became the successor-in-waiting to the head of the Revolutionary Guards and was responsible for running the Intelligence Protection Office of the Revolutionary Guards at the time, were both members of the leadership council of the PIA. The council was headed by Morteza Reza’i. Reza’i used to be the commander of the Revolutionary Guards during the victory of Khorramshar. He resigned from this position because of his opposition to the continuing war with Iraq. He pursued dairy farming until the end of the war, at which point he reassumed his post as head of the Intelligence Protection Office of the Revolutionary Guards. He has since stepped down as deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards. In addition to this, Mr. Zarqami (who currently heads the Islamic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)), Larijani (the current head of the Majlis), Mr. Zulqadr (who served as deputy commander for the Revolutionary Guards at the time) and Shariatmadari (who was the chief editor of Kayhan) also participated in the leadership council of the PIA.

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Tagged as:

Secret Prisons, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Illegal Search and Seizure