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Witness Statement: Mohsen Sazegara

34. My charges were serious this time and the interrogations were conducted differently. I was blindfolded and forced to sit in a chair facing the wall. My interrogators sat behind me. They threatened me and told me that I would be imprisoned for 20 years. I told them to add another ‘0’ and make it 200 years.

35. My charge sheet included the following charges: propaganda against the regime pursuant to interviews I had conducted; attempts against the national security (this charge was based on a speech I gave at a student gathering at the University of Isfahan, which was disrupted by [Ansar-i] Hizbullah); forming an illegal group (this charge was based on the establishment of a coalition for the mayoral elections); insulting and weakening revolutionary bodies (this charge was based on an interview I gave the press criticizing Rahim Safavi, the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, and arguing that as long as he wears a military uniform he does not have the right to interfere in the nation’s politics or support a specific political faction); the formation of a secret group (this charge was based on a meeting I had with several student members of the Tahkim-i Vahdat office, and communications I had with foreign elements, such as the interview I gave Iranian expatriates like Ms. Derakhshesh of Voice of America).

36. My interrogators lived in their own imaginary world and attempted to reconcile their own impressions with outside realities. They always viewed world and Iranian events with an eye towards conspiracy theories, and expected others to adopt their worldview.

37. I spent 114 days in this prison. Fifty-nine of these were spent in solitary confinement. For 56 days I was on a hunger strike, and I only consumed a glass of water and six sugar cubes at sunrise and sundown. I became ill and dysfunctional. I was transferred to the Evin infirmary several times, and from there I was taken to Baqiatollah Hospital, which was under the supervision of the Revolutionary Guards. They attempted to break my fast by force on two separate occasions, but I resisted. On the 56th day I finally ended my strike, after Mr. Mortazavi (the Prosecutor General of Tehran) informed me that they had accepted my demands and that I would be freed. After 21 days I realized that he had lied, so I continued my hunger strike. This time the strike lasted 23 days. I was finally freed and taken to Mehr Hospital. Due to complications resulting from my heart and vision, my doctors recommended that I leave the country to continue medical treatment and I requested [the authorities to allow me to do so]. After 42 days, they returned my passport and I was allowed to leave the country for treatment. I was abroad when they convicted me in abstentia and sentenced me to six years in prison.

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Tagged as:

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