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Witness Statement: Kourosh Sehati

30. In Prison 59 they took us to the restroom 4 times a day. After a few days, they took us out to a small yard for about 10 minutes every day so we could get a breath of fresh air. Sometimes we snuck in a conversation with some of the other detainees who were out in the yard with us. The guards didn’t let us talk to each other. We gathered a lot of information [about our condition] when we went for our walks. For example, we found out that we weren’t the only detainees in Eshratabad. Sixty to seventy of the Religious-Nationalists and Freedom Movement of Iran members, such as Mohandes Sahaji, Dr. Payman, Basteh Negar, Raja’i, Ali Afshari and others were also detained there.

31. I went on a hunger strike in Eshratabad to protest the pressure they put on me to secure a television confession.

32. Before the anniversary of the July 9th [events], the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Revolutionary Guards took me, Sa’id Kashiloo, Hamid Reza Mobin and Heshmatollah Tabarzadi to another detention facility. They took us to a detention facility administered by the Intelligence Protection Organization of the Ministry of Defense, which we later learned was Prison Jay. All the guards at this prison wore military uniforms and boots. Our cells often shook as a result of the many planes flying overhead. Every time we used the restrooms, the guards thoroughly searched our cells. They allowed us access to fresh air, but they searched us extensively every time they did. We were subject to a lot of pressure there. One of my friends, Hamid Reza Mobin, who was younger than the rest of us and was only 19 at the time, suffered a heart attack while in detention and was released because of his condition.

33. After Prison Jay they transferred us back to Prison 50 in Eshratabad, and then to Evin Prison. All in all we spent more than 7 months in solitary confinement. Five months were spent in Eshratabad, one month in Prison Jay and the last month in Section 240 of Evin Prison. After seven months I was released from prison on bail.

My Third Arrest

 

34. Like before, my freedom didn’t last long. In December 2002 we conducted a session with the Nationalist Party of Iran (on the threshold of the anniversary of the [murders of the] Forouhars).3 I left the meeting and sat in my car. Someone knocked on the window. I thought he was a beggar. I asked him, “What do you want?” The man said, “Open the door; I want to sit in the back.” I understood what the matter was. I opened the door. He got in and sat in the back seat. He picked up one of the announcements that we’d circulated regarding the commemoration of the Forouhars’ [assassination] and read it. In it we implicated the Ministry of Intelligence in the Forouhars’ murders. Then he said, “Right, so does this mean that we killed them?” I said, “As far as I know the Ministry of Intelligence has accepted its involvement in these murders – what do you want from me? He commanded me to “Sit right here.” A short while later, his boss arrived. He did not allow me to turn around and look at him. He knew my name and called me by it. Again, he didn’t let me turn around and look at him. He asked me “if I wanted to leave my car at this place or take it with me.” I said, “[I prefer] to leave it here.” Then he blindfolded me and took me to another car which was an old Mercedes Benz. From there, they took me to the investigations office of the MOI, which was near the intersection of Vali Asr next to Juraban store in Baradaran-i Mozaffar Street. By law they did not have the right to detain anyone there because it’s not an official detention center. But the MOI unlawfully used this location as a temporary detention facility to intimidate the accused. I was threatened there and warned not to participate in the anniversary of the deaths of Daryush and Parvaneh Forouhar. They released me a few hours later.

3 Dariush Forouhar was a founding member of the Nationalist Party of Iran and served in Mehdi Bazargan’s provisional government after the Shah was overthrown. He and his wife later became critics of the Islamic Republic. They were assassinated by “rogue elements” within the Ministry of Intelligence in 1998, along with a series of other intellectuals. These assassinations are referred to as the “Chain Murders.”

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Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons