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Witness Statement: Fariba Davoodi Mohajer

5. I imagine that the allegation that secret prisons were housed in residential areas is true. Some of my friends were detained in a prison located in Youth Square. There are in fact no official detention facilities in close proximity to Youth Square. But a number of detainees were secretly held in this area (or perhaps in the underground area of Shah Abdol-Azim). They also took a number of bloggers to Vanak Square. From Vanak Square you could see the dome of the Hosseiniyihyyih Ershad – no prisons exist there. They had taken another group of my friends to a prison near Tajrish and Niyavaran. There are only private residences around that area. So where were these individuals detained? It is apparent that these prisons must have been located in residential neighborhoods.

6. The regime also purchased some residential homes located close to government ministries such as the Ministry of Intelligence, the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, and the Law Enforcement Forces for rather exorbitant amounts. Publicly, the goal of these purchases was to guarantee the security of military and intelligence facilities, but the aforementioned agencies also used these residences as detention facilities. These homes have retained their residential character but are now used for different purposes.

7. After the formation of the PIA, use of these locations and areas as secret prisons became commonplace. At that time the PIA was made up of radical elements within the Ministry of Intelligence, the Revolutionary Guards, and a group of young thugs from the Basij who had joined the Law Enforcement Forces. Some of these kids belonged to the Amir Mosque, or the ones who gathered at the Martyrs Mosque located on Ahang Avenue.

8. The PIA coordinated their arrests and interrogations with judges [working with the Judiciary]. The judge assigned to these cases was not impartial. He was responsible for conducting the investigations – he both supervised the interrogations and passed judgment. For example, Haddad Zareh Dehlavi, who was the judge assigned to my case supervised most of my interrogations after I was released from detention. He wanted me to cooperate with my interrogators and do as I was told. One time Judge Haddad said, “If you listen to your interrogators I will not charge you with any crimes.”

9. I suppose the PIA implemented and coordinated all the torture sessions [during detention]. Torture, solitary confinement, unsanitary conditions, lack of proper nourishment, lack of access to a doctor, intimidating stares by guards during the evening hours, lack of access to restroom facilities, lack of access to a lawyer and family members, physical abuse and other [violations] were all part of a system of punishment meted out by the PIA. Judge Haddad once informed me that “anyone who stays in these prisons for 45 days will confess to anything.” I am certain that Haddad was personally responsible for managing these secret prisons, and that the violent interrogations must have taken place pursuant to his wishes. Haddad was a head interrogator during the early years of the revolution, after which he became a judge. He tried many times to strike up conversation with me, but I refused to talk to him. He always attempted to convey his threats by using “nice” language. For example, he once told me “If you cooperate with your interrogators, your husband will be safe.”

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Cyber Journalism, Secret Prisons, Imprisonment, Statement